Ashleigh learned from an early age that working hard and helping others are what really counts in life.
Ashleigh’s mom, Bette, grew up in an East St. Louis apartment above a corner market, and her father, Wylie, grew up in rural Kansas. Like many, their families came to California in hopes of building a better life. They met at Garden Grove High School and have called Orange County home ever since. Bette became a local teacher and Wylie started a successful law firm.
Ashleigh would go to the courtroom on big trial days to watch her dad help those who had been wronged and fight for justice. The experience taught her that one person can make a difference for people most in need and give them a strong voice.
Growing up in Anaheim gave Ashleigh the chance to attend great schools in safe neighborhoods and get involved with giving back to the community. In the local Girl Scouts, she learned to be courageous and confident, and playing sports at El Rancho taught her to be goal-oriented and tough.
Helping others get ahead
She took those lessons and started helping others get ahead—as an educator, federal prosecutor, award-winning attorney, and community leader.
Ashleigh has worked pro bono to aid victims of domestic violence, expand free legal services for our veterans and military families, and protect one of our state’s most precious resources—open land. In 2010, she helped community activists save our OC Fair by battling Governor Schwarzenegger's plan to sell off the Orange County Fairgrounds.
Giving a voice to those who have been wronged
As a federal prosecutor, she also worked to make our neighborhoods safer. Ashleigh took on tough criminal cases and put armed bank robbers, drug dealers, child pornographers, and fraudsters behind bars.
When two young children witnessed the electrocution death of their parents and brother by a downed power line, Ashleigh fought for the family to hold the utility company accountable for putting profit over safety. Ashleigh took on the big corporate lawyers and won justice for the family, and forced the utility to safeguard electrical lines throughout the region.
An experienced leader
Ashleigh was elected by her peers to serve as president of the Orange County Bar Association, where she led efforts to increase accountability and charitable contributions to communities in greatest need of legal support, and established the Veterans & Military Committee to focus on providing pro bono services to our veterans and military families.
Throughout her distinguished law career of standing up for others, Ashleigh also served as co-chair of the Gay & Lesbian Law Union, vice-president of the Hispanic Bar Association, and president of the Orange County Women Lawyers.
Working to improve our neighborhoods
As Chair of the Anaheim Community Services Board, and a two-term commissioner, Ashleigh helped secure funding for local non-profit organizations that work to lift people out of poverty, prevent elder abuse, offer job training and placement, and provide additional education and arts resources to our at-risk youth.
Ashleigh served as Chair and is a current member of the Orange County Fair Board. She's helping to lead improvements on the grounds, add recreational opportunities, offer free programming to over 100,000 schoolchildren at the Centennial Farm, and mitigate traffic on event days. They recently opened up the Heroes Hall museum and education center in honor of our military veterans. Ashleigh also helped procure the state’s largest migrant farm worker monument as a tribute to the people who gave their blood, sweat and tears to transform Orange County into what it is today.
Ashleigh and her husband, Michael, live in Anaheim with their three daughters, and an ark of animals. Ashleigh and Michael work at the family-run law firm Aitken Aitken Cohn. They continue to support and volunteer with the local Special Olympics, Girl Scouts of Orange County, Chance Theatre in Anaheim, Anaheim Ballet, Muzeo, and South Coast Repertory.