Fiona Ma for State Assembly
News

Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation’s Speaker Series: Fiona Ma, Chair of the State Board of Equalization, addresses local youth and provides business advice

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. February 27, 2016 - “I encourage you all to be involved in politics and community service,” said Fiona Ma, Chairwoman of the California State Board of Equalization and former California State Assemblywoman. “If you care, get involved! You can change the laws, and you can make a difference. You get to meet people, you get to help people, and you get to serve people and your community. It’s really the best job.” 

Thursday night, Ma addressed more than 25 FFA and 4H students from Bear River, Nevada Union and Placer high schools, and served as the fourth speaker in the Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation’s ongoing Speaker Series. 

The series, hosted by the Fairgrounds Foundation, brings business education - through access to business leaders and real-life leadership experiences – to local high school students. 

Ma was elected to the California State Assembly in 2006, representing the 12th Assembly District. She served three terms until her term ended in 2012. During her term, she served as Speaker Pro Tempore of the Assembly, becoming the first Asian American woman to ever hold that position since 1850. In 2014, she was elected to the State Board of Equalization, District 2, which represents 10 million people. On Wednesday evening, she was elected the Chairwoman of the Board of Equalization. 

During her time in the Assembly, Ma developed a strong interest in agriculture and became one of the strongest voices in the Legislature on agriculture issues. Since 2008, Ma has taken more than 80 different agriculture tours to educate herself about the industry. She remains committed to California agriculture, even giving herself the nickname of “the Urban Cowgirl.” 

Ma suggested to the students that they find an area they are passionate about it, and work to make a difference. She encouraged students to “do your homework, be prepared, be charismatic, and be educated. The better educated you are in whatever you are doing, the more you will be respected.” 

Ma is a licensed Certified Public Accountant, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting, a Master’s Degree in Taxation, and an MBA from Pepperdine University.

The Fairgrounds Foundation’s speaker series, which began in October, features six speakers and will run through April. Students have an opportunity to hear about the speaker’s career path, how they achieved their goals, insight regarding their area of expertise, and an opportunity for questions. Upcoming speakers include Tom Browning, retired Fire Battalion Chief and current Nevada County Fairgrounds Board Member; and John Paye, former NFL player for the San Francisco 49ers. The series is sponsored by Sandy Ballou of California Outdoor Properties. 

About the Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation: The Nevada County Fairgrounds Foundation’s mission is to support and improve the community’s Fairgrounds, and to support youth in agriculture. For more information about the Fairgrounds Foundation, or to become a member, visit NevadaCountyFair.com/foundation/.