Veterans Advocate Tony Virrueta Runs for District 17 Senate Seat

Tony Virrueta was born and raised in Salinas and served his nation as a U.S. Army Ranger; in his later career he has given back to the Central Coast community in a myriad of public service leadership roles. Tony is a first generation son of an immigrant family.

Tony seeks to continue his community service as a candidate for California State Senate in District 17 which includes all of Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties and the northern portion of San Luis Obispo County.  He has been endorsed by the California Republican Party, the California Congress of Republicans and the Republican parties of Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito and San Luis Obispo counties.

Tony highlights the gas tax increases, low performing schools and the increase in fentanyl trafficking as three areas where the incumbent state senator has failed to serve the people of his district.

Having come from a long line of veterans, Tony felt called to serve his country with vigor and discipline, enlisting in the Army and working his way up to a non-commissioned officer. His extensive training and worldwide operations experience paved the way for a successful career as a U.S Army Ranger and Special Forces instructor.

After twelve years of Army service, including becoming a forward observer and serving in Korea, Japan, Philippines, Guam and other posts, Tony attended Hartnell College, where he studied U.S. history. He worked for Paraiso Vineyards, becoming elevated to head sales manager. His success was noticed by Southern Wine & Spirits, who promoted him to key accounts specialist and then District Manager, covering Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties.

Following his years of service and career success, Tony dedicated his time to his family and serving his community in Soledad. As a strong advocate of veterans’ programs and supporting local heroes in Monterey County, Tony took initiative to organize the first Salinas Veterans Day Parade in 2010.   Over the last 12 years, this annual event has expanded and evolved. Tony has continued to serve as the principal organizer, fundraiser and master of ceremonies. Thanks to his community-driven spirit, the Salinas Veterans Day parade now honors hundreds of local veterans and their families.

Tony has served as a member of the Soledad American Legion Post 32 for 23 years; his veteran-oriented activities include the Honor Our Fallen 5/10k run in Seaside each year. Much of his work is as tribute to his fallen nephew, killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2014. Tony serves on the Soledad Recreation Department Advisory Board.  In 2016, Tony was honored as the local Military Hero in the American Red Cross parade.  In 2018, he was recognized as the Veteran of the year by Monterey County Veterans Services Advisory Commission.

Tony volunteers with organizations such as South County Animal Rescue, Central Coast Red Cross, Veteran inmate mentor programs, and presides as Vice President and board member of Heroes of Monterey County — supporting first responders, veterans and service members.

As an advocate for building strong communities and families, Tony prioritizes time with his wife, Cynthia, their children and grandchildren.  Learn more about Tony Virrueta on his campaign website,

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