Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez is a native of Youngstown, Ohio.

Melissa entered the United States Navy upon graduating high school. She attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, where she became a fluent Russian language speaker.

Melissa then became one of the first women approved by the U.S. Navy to fly aboard EP- 3 reconnaissance aircraft overseas, conducting reconnaissance and intelligence gathering operations. She served her country with honor and distinction as a Russian translator for ten years during the height of the Cold War, and flew covert missions during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. While serving in the Navy, she received numerous awards for her strategic acumen, operational insight, professionalism, and impeccable leadership skills.

While serving in the Navy full-time, Melissa also attended college full-time in the evenings, and received her BA in History and Political Studies from Chaminade University in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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After the Navy, Melissa took an academic advisory position at Chaminade University for two years before deciding to begin her own business. She then formed her own successful transcription company, contracting with the Chief of Naval Operations, and providing services to the Secretary of the Navy as well as other top-level Pentagon officials. She also went back to school and earned a MBA from the University of Phoenix.

In 2008, Melissa Melendez was elected to the Lake Elsinore City Council. She served as Mayor Pro Tem as well as Mayor during her four years in local government.

Melissa has distinguished herself throughout the district by tackling some of the most important issues of the day, like fighting for increased government transparency, reducing taxes, and easing the burden on the business community. Melissa is also known to be a tireless advocate for veterans and military families.

Melissa has five children with her husband, Nico Melendez, who works for the Department of Homeland Security. Nico is also a veteran of the U.S. Navy, having served 10 years on active duty around the world as a journalist and public affairs officer. He proudly continues to serve today in an active naval reserve unit.[/bg_collapse]