Ruiz named Woman of the Year

Assemblymember honors Hollister resident during Women’s History Month

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Kathy Zanger Ruiz

Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) named Kathy Zanger Ruiz the 2021 Woman of the Year for Assembly District 30 on March 15. Ruiz was honored as part of the Women’s History Month celebration hosted by the Legislative Women’s Caucus.

“I am proud to recognize Kathy Ruiz as the Woman of the Year in Assembly District 30,” Rivas said. “She’s a valued leader who has had a deep impact on our community, and people across my district will attest to the numerous ways Kathy has changed their lives for the better. She has spent a half a century working to create opportunities for those most in need, and I applaud her lifelong dedication to public service.”

Ruiz, a resident of Hollister, has more than 50 years of service to the District 30 community, with her professional career focused on empowering women. 

At Gavilan Community College in Gilroy, she served as a Title IX coordinator and head counselor and became the director of the Women’s Re-entry Program that advocated for and supported women returning to formal education. She also served as president of the San Benito County Board of Education from 1975-77 and as Gavilan College’s Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences before retiring in 1985.

In 1989, Ruiz married Anthony “Tony” Ruiz, a Spanish teacher at Gavilan College. Together, they were active in local politics. Kathy Ruiz served on the Democratic Party Central Committee in San Benito County and volunteered on many local campaigns.

She served for 10 years as a court appointed special advocate for three children from Monterey County. She also served as head of the Fishes and Loaves/Peace and Justice Ministry at Sacred Heart/St. Benedict Church in Hollister. Seeing a growing need for homeless services, Ruiz chaired the homeless task force that set up the first emergency shelter in San Benito County.