Outside a small coffee shop in San Marino, Rosina Franco of East Pasadena didn't have to think twice when asked which 2016 presidential candidate she favors.

"If you believe in helping people who are less fortunate than yourself, then it's a pretty obvious choice," Franco says. "Hillary's been more scrutinized than anybody who's ever run for office. But she's persevered, and that's the kind of person you need as president."

Franco, 49, a registered Democrat, has also persevered. Her family, which includes six older siblings, immigrated to Los Angeles from Mexico before she was born. For years, they lived off food stamps and received Medicaid. Franco credits education and hard work to her family's ability to get off public assistance, and she believes most immigrants strive to do the same.

"The fact that a lot of people think immigrants are coming here to break the law or to somehow freeload on the American government is ludicrous," Franco says.

Franco's struggles growing up motivated her to pursue a job helping underserved communities. She also wanted a career that would ensure a better life for her children. She excelled in the sciences and became a physician.

For Franco, universal healthcare and public education go hand-in-hand. After medical school, she worked in family practice for 10 years before transitioning to her current role as a full-time public school physician in 2007.

Franco voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders in the California Democratic primary because she supported his public education platform.

Franco says she feels fortunate that she and her husband could save money to put their 17-year-old daughter through college. Unlike her daughter, Franco financed her academic career with the help of Pell Grants, Cal Grants and scholarships. She hopes the next president will work to make all levels of education more affordable.

"If we could educate our community more, then people would be able to have better jobs, and be able to invent more things," Franco says. "The country would be in a better place if people were more educated."