In an interview with The Almanac, Ms. Renteria said she considers herself a "career public servant."
"I come at public service with this idea that there's folks we have left out," she said.
Born and raised in Tulare County, Ms. Renteria said that making sure the Central Valley gets fair consideration in statewide policy-making would be a priority for her as governor. Lack of clean water and air, and a lack of employment opportunities are some of the problems that area experiences now, she said.
She joins a number of other candidates in the race for governor; major Democratic candidates include Gavin Newsom, lieutenant governor; Antonio Villaraigosa, former Los Angeles mayor; John Chiang, state treasurer; and Delaine Eastin, former state superintendent of public instruction.
In 2014, Ms. Renteria ran for the District 21 congressional seat, located in the Central Valley, but lost to Republican David Valadao.
Ms. Renteria grew up the daughter of migrant farm workers in Tulare County; she attended Stanford University for her undergraduate work and Harvard University for an MBA.
She has worked as a budget analyst for the city of San Jose, an economic policy adviser to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, and as chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan — the first Latina to hold that position, she said.
After working for the Hillary Clinton campaign, she worked as chief of operations for the California Department of Justice, but recently stepped down to run her campaign.
Since launching her campaign, she has also published a narrative on the website Medium describing an experience in which, as a 24-year-old, she dealt with inappropriate advances at work, calling it her "#MeToo" story.
What spurred her to enter the race was what she has seen of the other candidates, she said, particularly watching a debate in which she felt candidates Newsom and Villaraigosa argued about how they've leveraged their political positions to make money.
"That's not what it's about," she said. "It's about making sure we have a government and public institutions that people honor and trust."
Her campaign website is amandarenteria.com.
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