In 2012, Jose was elected to represent Riverside, Moreno Valley, Perris, and Mead Valley in the California State Assembly.

Jose chaired the Higher Education Committee where he fought to expand college opportunity and increase access to degree programs and financial aid. He tirelessly advocated to reform the Cal Grant Program - removing barriers that prevented thousands of Californians from affording a postsecondary education. 

Staying true to his teaching roots, Jose championed diversity, equity and inclusion and passed the nation's first High School Ethnic Studies requirement to ensure students learn about history, culture, and struggles of California's diverse population.