In 2008, Manuel was elected to the California State Assembly, representing eastern Riverside County and Imperial County. Entering office during the great recession, he worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle and the Governor’s Office to bring forth fiscal accountability, health care reform, renewable energy growth and job creation legislation.
A champion for eastern Riverside County, Manuel had more than 60 pieces of legislation signed into law to help create jobs, jumpstart the local renewable energy industry and make neighborhoods safer. His legislation focused on jobs, economic development, small business, education, health care access, infrastructure, renewable energy, transportation, air quality, environment, public safety, parks, technology, agriculture, water and the Salton Sea.
In the Assembly, Manuel became majority leader and worked closely with the Assembly Speaker on the day-to-day functions of the statehouse. He served as the chairman of the Jobs and Economic Development Committee, founding Vice Chair of the Select Committee for the Status of Boys and Men of Color as well as Chair of Stimulus, Economic Recovery and Jobs (SERJ).
After serving three terms in the State Assembly, Manuel continued his public service with election to the Coachella City Council. Prior to his appointment to county supervisor, he was Chief Government and Public Affairs Officer for Borrego Health, a federally qualified health center serving the under-served in San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
Manuel resides in his native city of Coachella with Gladis, his wife of 25 years. They have two sons, Ruben, who graduated from UC Davis and Alejandro, from UC Santa Barbara.