Assemblymember Grayson Names Pittsburg Community Leader Merl Craft as Woman of the Year

Pittsburg Councilwoman Merl Craft (holding certificate) poses with her family at the Woman of the Year ceremony at the State Capitol. Craft was named by Assemblymember Tim Grayson (D-Concord) as the Woman of the Year for his Assembly District.

SACRAMENTO Assemblymember Timothy S. Grayson (D-Concord) honored Pittsburg City Councilwoman Marilyn “Merl” Craft as the Woman of the Year of the 14th Assembly District at a ceremony Monday at the State Capitol.

“Merl Craft is an exemplary community leader and longtime Pittsburg resident who lives her life by the motto, ‘There is no greater honor than to serve,’” said Assemblymember Grayson. “She has worked and volunteered within the Pittsburg community for over 46 years, including terms as Mayor, Recreation Supervisor, and City Council Member – a remarkable record of public service.”

“I have been blessed to work with so many amazing individuals and organizations whose primary goal is to raise awareness and provide resources for those in need in our East County communities,” said Councilwoman Craft. “We must always remember to pay it forward and share our blessings.”

As Pittsburg’s Recreation Supervisor, Craft successfully facilitated collaborations between the city, school district, community and faith-based organizations to secure over $3.6 million in grant funding for the Pittsburg community. She received the East Contra Costa County Dr. Martin Luther King “Love in Action Award” in 2007 for her work within the community.

Craft is also the founder of Open Opportunities, a non-profit organization that networks with government and other community organizations to provide mentoring, healthy life choices, and career training for adults in need. Open Opportunities is the managing partner of the East Contra Costa County Future Build Pre-Apprentice Training Program, where Merl serves as the Program Manager. In addition to the program’s impressive 90 percent placement rate for graduates, Merl has specifically recruited women to the program and works with Tradeswomen Inc. and other agencies to train and enable low-income women to succeed in rewarding but traditionally male-dominated fields in the trades.

The California Assembly hosts the annual Woman of the Year celebration to recognize an outstanding woman from each Assembly District. Each honoree is introduced on the Assembly Floor and receives a special certificate for her accomplishments. A Capitol tradition since 1987, this annual event highlights the achievements of distinguished women throughout the state during Women’s History Month.

Tim Grayson represents the 14th Assembly District that includes the communities of Benicia, Concord, Clayton, Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Vallejo, Pittsburg and Walnut Creek. For more information please visit the Assemblymember’s website,