Carmen grew up in Central Phoenix’s Garfield and Goldengate neighborhoods. She and her children are products of Phoenix schools. She is a graduate of Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions with Bachelor of Science degrees in Public Policy and Public Service and Criminology and Criminal Justice. Over her years of both professional experience and volunteer service with Free Arts for Abused Children of AZ, Carmen has consistently advocated for marginalized people, supporting Arizonans on multi-disciplinary teams with sometimes little or no family. She works within the Division of Developmental Disabilities for the State of Arizona. Carmen serves both children and adults living with one or more developmental disabilities who are also diagnosed with behavioral health needs. As part of a growing movement of non-traditional elected officials, Carmen was invited to participate in the New American Leaders program in 2018. She is now an alumna of their leadership training which was created to increase participation in our democracy by empowering 1st and 2nd generation Americans to serve.