About Amanda Renteria

CEO of Code for America

Previous Career Highlights:

  • Board Chair, Interim President, and Senior Advisor for Emerge America
  • Chief of Operations at the California Department of Justice
  • National Political Director for Hillary Clinton's 2016 Presidential Campaign
  • Chief of Staff in the United States Senate
  • Graduate of Harvard and Stanford
  • Proud daughter of California's Central Valley and mom of two energetic kids!

As the proud and grateful daughter of former farmworkers, Amanda Renteria has been blazing trails on behalf of women, Latinos, and people of color for more than 25 years.

Amanda has worked at the highest levels of government and is a nationally recognized political strategist. She makes regular media appearances on major outlets such as National Public Radio, ABC, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, Telemundo, and Univision. She has also been featured in The New York Times, Allure, BuzzFeed, Cosmopolitan, Elle, ESPNW, McClatchy newspapers, Politico, and Sports Illustrated, among others.

Immediately prior to joining Code for America, Amanda had been deeply involved in guiding Emerge America, a non-profit organization that trains Democratic women to run for elected office at all levels of government. She joined Emerge America’s Board of Directors in 2017 and was elected its Chairwoman in 2018. During her leadership as Interim President in 2019, Emerge trained a record number of women and achieved a record revenue year.


Previously, Amanda was the National Political Director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Campaign. Immediately thereafter, she served as the Chief of Operations for the California Department of Justice under California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. 

While working for US Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) in 2008, Amanda became the first Latina Chief of Staff in the history of the United States Senate. Prior to this, she was an economic policy advisor to US Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).  

Amanda began her career in public service as a high school Math and Economics teacher in the underserved agricultural community where she grew up. Later, she served as a budget analyst for the City of San Jose, California. Amanda is a current or former Board member of Stanford University’s Haas Center for Public Service, People for the American Way, and TEEN Success. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in both Economics and Political Science from Stanford University, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.  


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Early Life & Education


Amanda Renteria is the proud daughter of Trinidad and Helen Renteria. Both Trinidad and Helen are former migrant farmworkers who worked their way up in the fields as young adults. 

Her parents’ example and hard work helped to mold Amanda into a standout student and athlete at Woodlake High School in California’s agriculturally rich Central Valley. After leading her basketball, softball, and volleyball teams to league championships, Amanda was voted the Central Section’s CIF Girl Scholar/Athlete of the Year. Amanda graduated from Woodlake High School as the top student and valedictorian of the class of 1992.

Amanda was the first woman and Mexican-American from her small town to be accepted at Stanford University. In Stanford's challenging environment of high standards and high expectations, Amanda went on to earn a BA in Economics as well as a BA in Political Science, with honors.  

While at Stanford, Amanda was a member of the varsity basketball and softball teams. In recognition of her hard work and leadership skills, Amanda was voted Stanford Softball's Most Inspirational Athlete and named a Stanford Scholar-Athlete and NFCA Academic All-American .

About six years later, Amanda completed a Master’s degree in Business Administration at Harvard Business School, where she focused on public/non-profit management. While in graduate school, she interned at the Academy of Business Leadership, a Los Angeles-based non-profit that provides business education to underserved youth as a way of creating and empowering new business leaders.

Private Sector & High School Teaching

In her first job out of college, Amanda gained nearly four years of valuable private sector work experience as an investment analyst in Los Angeles. In this role, she gained a strong understanding of how our economy works, how government policies can help or hinder job creation, and how families can best manage their finances. 

Always wishing to give back to the Central Valley community that had given her so much, Amanda soon returned to her hometown in Tulare County, California to serve as a teacher. Using the skills she had gained in finance and economics, she taught Advanced Math and Economics at her high school. During this time, Amanda also coached the girls’ junior varsity basketball and softball teams.


Serving in Local Government


Immediately after earning her Master’s degree, Amanda worked as a Special Consultant and Budget Analyst for the City of San Jose, California. In this role, she helped manage a $2 billion budgeting process by overseeing the finances of three city departments. She also served as an interim development director for the city’s Strong Neighborhoods Initiative that led major projects to improve city services, for both businesses and under-served residents. Through her work in one of the nation’s 12 largest cities, Amanda gained a keen understanding of the nuts and bolts of how local government works. Most importantly, she had the opportunity to work directly with residents to ensure that their government operates efficiently and is responsive to their needs.

Trailblazing in the U.S. Senate

In 2005, Amanda joined the office of California US Senator Dianne Feinstein, serving as her advisor on economic issues. In this role, and throughout her time in the US Senate, Amanda applied her expertise in international business and investment to develop policies that promote and strengthen American innovation, global competitiveness, workforce development, and job creation. This included the development of a 21st century manufacturing agenda that brought manufacturing jobs back to America, a slate of clean-energy production incentives that seeded the alternative energy industry when it needed it most, and new trade enforcement policies that made it harder for other countries to harm our businesses and workers.  


Amanda moved to the office of US Senator Debbie Stabenow in 2006. Senator Stabenow was a member of the four person Democratic leadership team and the Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. She was also a member of the Budget, Finance, and Energy Committees. Joining Senator Stabenow's staff as an advisor on economic issues, Amanda quickly advanced to oversee all of the Senator’s policy advisors. A year later, the Senator promoted Amanda to lead the entire office, making her the first Latina Chief of Staff in the history of the US Senate.

Amanda served as Chief of Staff during an eventful period in US Senate history. Through Senator Stabenow’s role on the Finance Committee, Amanda was directly involved in the negotiation and passage of the Affordable Care Act. In particular, her work led to the inclusion of mental health, women’s preventive health, and maternity care. During the economic crisis, Amanda and her team played a major role in saving the country’s manufacturing sector and creating new tax incentives for alternative energy production. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, her team oversaw implementation of a key portion of Wall Street Reform. 

As the Chief of Staff overseeing the Agriculture Committee, Amanda led the team that authored and negotiated the 2014 Senate Farm Bill, a landmark achievement and one of the Senate’s last bipartisan successes through regular order. The 2014 Farm Bill greatly benefited California’s ag sector. It sought to modernize the system and cut duplicative programs while protecting conservation, food aid, and healthy foods initiatives. It recognized the full diversity of crops produced in this country for the first time, and it enhanced new areas of agricultural growth, including fruits, vegetables, and organics.

Amanda’s dedication and teamwork made her effective as a policymaker and negotiator. In 2010, Amanda was named Outstanding Chief of Staff by the Tri-Caucus Staff Association. In 2011 and 2012, she was named one of the 50 Most Influential Staffers in Washington by Roll Call magazine. In 2009, she received the Imagen Foundation’s Latina Leaders Award, and in 2011, she received MANA’s Primera Award for being the first Latina Chief of Staff in US Senate history.


Bringing New Voices and Issues to Our Politics


In 2014, Amanda stepped up to run for office in California’s 21st Congressional District. This Central Valley district has always been tough for Democrats; in fact no woman or Latino has ever won there. Amanda’s mission was to bring a new voice to the political dialogue and inspire others to join in.

Amanda’s campaign sparked a special energy as she secured the Democratic Party’s endorsement and won the primary over the previous Democratic nominee by a 2-to-1 margin. She secured a broad range of endorsements locally and nationally, including the central committees, central labor councils, individual labor unions, women’s groups, Latino organizations, business associations, and veterans groups. Amanda also earned the endorsement of the largest newspaper in the district, the Fresno Bee. In addition to local media, she was featured in The New York Times, Cosmo, Marie Claire, and MSNBC’s Women to Watch. She took pride in bringing Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Vice President Joe Biden to the Central Valley. In a year when only one Democratic challenger in the entire country defeated a Republican incumbent, Amanda lost in the November general election.

In February 2018, Amanda ran for Governor of California. She entered the race just a few months before the primary, but she succeeded in drawing significant attention to issues and communities that were previously being ignored. As a result of her efforts, sexual misconduct in the workplace, rural economic development, environmental justice, and computer science education became major issues in the campaign. Amanda finished in 5th place among Democrats and therefore did not advance to the general election.

The 2016 Presidential Campaign

In 2015, Amanda joined Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign as its National Political Director. During her time on the campaign, Amanda traveled to 30 different states and territories to build coalitions with elected officials, key constituency groups, and grassroots activists. By traveling there in person and meeting with local citizens, Amanda played an important role in bringing national attention to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan and the Zika outbreak in Puerto Rico. Throughout this time, Amanda regularly served as a campaign spokesperson in the local and national media, including both English and Spanish language television. 


Working for Justice


In 2017, Amanda joined Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s senior leadership team at the California Department of Justice. In her role as the DOJ’s Chief of Operations, Amanda managed 1,000 DOJ employees and an $850 million budget.

While at DOJ, Amanda played a key leadership role in helping the newly appointed Attorney General to build his team and launch his administration. Amanda successfully negotiated a permanent increase in the DOJ budget in order to better protect the people of California. She also oversaw a major reorganization effort to improve operations and efficiency. 

During this time, the Department of Justice built an impressive track record in locking up human traffickers, cracking down on polluters, stopping fraud and abuse of seniors, and fighting for women’s healthcare. They secured $50 million in student refunds from for-profit colleges and undertook several different initiatives to protect immigrants’ rights. 

Promoting Women & People of Color

As the proud and grateful daughter of former farmworkers, Amanda has been blazing trails on behalf of women, Latinos, and people of color for more than 25 years. She is especially committed to encouraging young people and women to pursue careers in public service, as an important way of changing the face of political power in America.

Emerge America is the leading national organization that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for elected office at all levels of government. Amanda joined the Emerge Board of Directors in 2017 and was elected to serve as its Chairwoman in 2018. In 2019, Amanda stepped in to serve as Interim President following the departure of its founder.

As a result of her leadership as Interim President, Emerge America trained a record number of women and achieved record revenues in 2019. Amanda served as Senior Advisor until becoming CEO of Code for America in May 2020.


In addition to her work at Emerge, Amanda recently completed a term on the Advisory Board of Stanford University’s Haas Center for Public Service. She continues to serve as an Advisory Board Member for People for the American Way, a Board Member of TEEN Success, an Equity Advisor for Sephora, and a Member of the Latino Community Foundation's Giving Circle.