The Parras will serve as volunteers spearheading the "Democrats and Independent Voters for Carly Coalition" in her bid to defeat Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer in the Nov. 2 election, Fiorina's campaign said.
Parra, a longtime Central Valley resident who now lives in Fresno, re-registered as an independent voter last year. She told The Bee that "I'll probably be hit" by political partisans for supporting Fiorina.
"But I go back to the premise -- what ever happened to electing people and not just having to vote for a party?" she said.
"People are tired of partisan politics," she added. "They want to see new faces, new people with new ideas go back to Sacramento and Washington, D.C., and get the job done."
Parra said she has been impressed with Fiorina's passion, intellect and positions on issues from water to immigration. They talked recently and "she promised to come back to the Valley every time she came back from Washington, D.C.," Parra said.
Parra, 40, served three terms in the Assembly as a moderate Democrat, although her relationship with her party's leadership team sometimes was shaky.
Assembly Speaker Karen Bass banished Parra to an office outside the Capitol after she balked at supporting a 2008 state budget proposal because lawmakers did not put a water bond on the ballot. Parra was termed out of the Legislature months later.
The Fiorina campaign released the following statement from Parra:
"It is my pleasure to endorse Carly Fiorina's campaign for U.S. Senate today. Carly's message of job creation and economic growth resonates with voters across California, especially in light of our state's 12.3 percent unemployment rate.
"Small-business owners, families and communities all around the Central Valley in particular are struggling, and we need a vocal advocate fighting for us in Washington. Carly Fiorina understands these challenges firsthand, and she will fight for our state as a member of the U.S. Senate."
After leaving the Assembly, Parra worked temporarily as an appointee of Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, directing Regional Development Initiatives in the Central Valley at a salary of $128,124.
About a year ago, she opened her own political consulting and public relations business in Fresno, called NMP Consulting, she said.
Parra's father, Pete Parra, is a registered Democrat who served on the Kern County Board of Supervisors and the Bakersfield City School District Board of Education.
PHOTO CREDIT: Then Assemblywoman Nicole Parra, D-Hanford, works in her new small office across the street from the state Capitol on Aug. 20, 2008. Parra was punished by Speaker Karen Bass for not voting on the budget over the weekend. (Sacramento Bee file photo/ Brian Baer)