Ernesto Falcon is running to represent the people of California State Senate District 7, which will hold an open primary in 2024 to replace state Senator Nancy Skinner.
Ernesto is a first-generation American born and raised in California who has dedicated his life to fighting corporate interests and working to give regular people more power. His parents, Silvia and Edgardo Falcon, immigrated from Peru to the United States so that their son would have the kind of opportunities they never had when they were young. Ernesto lives in El Cerrito with his wife of 13 years, Katie Rodriguez, and their two children who attend their local public school. He worked as the Senior Legislative Counsel at the Electronic Frontier Foundation since 2016 and helped unionize his law firm to join the Engineers and Scientists of California, Local 20 union.
Ernesto Falcon wants to return power to the people. East Bay communities are facing enormous challenges in housing, homelessness, learning loss from the pandemic, and public safety. Families, particularly low-income families, are struggling to help their children recover after falling behind during pandemic school closures. Teachers are burning out while our education system faces a serious recruitment challenge and enrollment crisis. The rising cost of living is undermining the American dream and everyone’s quality of life. Meanwhile, the technologies that surround us, such as social media, are being weaponized against us and dramatic cracks in our democracy are making people feel powerless.
Ernesto believes that we can fix these challenges and build a future for the East Bay and all of California where all people, no matter how much money they make, can thrive, get a good education, buy a home, raise their children, and retire. Ernesto’s campaign is about making public education better for kids, parents, and teachers. It’s about promoting innovation in tech that gives people, not corporations, more power. And it’s about bringing people together to find solutions to the big and small problems we face in the East Bay.
In 2003, Ernesto Falcon graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Psychology, and immediately started working to advance his progressive ideals. The United States had just invaded Iraq and presidential candidate Howard Dean was the only anti-war candidate in the Democratic Party. The day after graduating, Ernesto boarded a plane to New Hampshire to get to work for the Dean campaign and raise his voice against the war. After the Dean campaign, Ernesto moved to Washington D.C. to serve as legislative staff for two Members of Congress in the House of Representatives from 2004 until 2010.
Ernesto then joined the non-profit sector to advance consumer protection, promote fair competition, and protect people’s rights with the organization Public Knowledge. In 2011, he organized and led a coalition of industry and consumer groups to defeat the big AT&T and T-Mobile merger — one of the most consequential anti-monopoly victories in recent history. The next year, Ernesto Falcon brought together people from human rights organizations and the tech industry to orchestrate the largest Internet protest in history, an Internet-wide blackout in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act, legislation in Congress that threatened to censor the web.
Soon after, Ernesto Falcon returned home to California and obtained a law degree at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento where he served as the school’s Student Bar Association President and as Technical Editor for the McGeorge Law Review. During his time studying law, Ernesto interned at Google where he drafted white papers for staff working around the world about how countries in emerging markets can modernize their infrastructure policies to promote Internet access. He later served in Governor Jerry Brown’s Office of Planning and Research as a legal fellow where he drafted guidance for local governments seeking to deliver 21st century broadband access. After graduating and passing the California bar exam in 2015, Ernesto joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit leading the fights for digital privacy, free speech, and innovation, as its first legislative counsel where he specialized in intellectual property, antitrust, and internet infrastructure.
In 2018, Ernesto led a coalition of broadband providers, consumer groups, and tech companies to push California’s legislature to adopt SB 822, Senator Scott Wiener’s net neutrality legislation, which guarantees an open Internet without restrictions imposed on users by big broadband companies. In 2019, Ernesto Falcon declared that the United States was facing a broadband access crisis as our country lacked a national infrastructure plan as well as a badly-needed ban on digital redlining that keeps poorer communities and communities of color from getting the modern internet access they need. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ernesto warned that the current state of American infrastructure will fail to meet the needs of Americans switching to remote work and school.
Ernesto Falcon’s research and advocacy over the last few years led to the structure and design of both federal and California efforts to provide all people with 21st century broadband access and ban discrimination based on race and income. Ernesto was a principal drafter of California’s new infrastructure law, S.B. 156, which will make the largest public investment in open public infrastructure in the country. Ernesto’s research influenced the creation of the 2021 Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act which was introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar and House Majority
Whip James E. Clyburn in the United States Congress. The legislation later formed the foundation of the broadband infrastructure provisions of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Biden into law later that year.
Ernesto Falcon remains involved with his law school as an alumni on the McGeorge Diversity Board, which seeks to help diverse students be successful students and lawyers. He also sits on the board of California Parent Power, a small non-profit that represents public school parents on education policy.
Ernesto is committed to fighting for all of the people of State Senate District 7. State Senate District 7 includes the cities of Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Emeryville, Hercules, Oakland, Piedmont, Pinole, Richmond, Rodeo, San Pablo, and Tara Hills.