For the first ten years of Art’s life, his parents were seasonal farmworkers. This meant that for three months out of the year, he and his family would pack up and move to Mexico. Because his parents valued education so much, they made sure that while the family was living in Mexico, the kids were attending school. This was also the case the other nine months of the year. While in California, Art attended Willow Spring Elementary School. When the work for his parents became more stable, the family settled in Woodland. Mr. and Mrs. Pimentel bought their first home for the family to live in.
When asked if his parents ever brought him out on the fields to work, he said his father had him spend a summer working with him as a “lesson.” His dad wanted to show Art that if he did not stay in school and take his education as far as he could, a life of hard physical labor and 14 to 16 hour days is what he could be facing.
“After that summer,” Art said, “I knew my dad was right, education was the only thing that would open the door of opportunity and choices.”
After graduating from Woodland High School in 1997, Art attended Sacramento State University where he earned his Bachelors Degree in Social Science as well as a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership. While attending college, he was heavily involved in student government, serving as vice president and president over the student body. After graduation, Art decided to continue in the political field, becoming the only Latino and the youngest member of the city council of Woodland. Art believed he could offer a perspective the city had been missing.
His choice to become involved in student government and politics after graduation wasn’t something his parents understood. Their impression of government had been formed in Mexico, where those who were in charge, do little to help the people they represent. However, even while having this negative view, they never stopped supporting Art’s goals to become a prominent figure in California Politics.
Art’s advice for the hardworking farmworkers trying to support and raise a family: “Always encourage your kids to get an education and support them every step of the way.” His parents instilled this in Art, and the success he has experienced so far in his career is a true testament to the importance of an education.