From Councilwoman to Mayor, The Journey of Esther Sanchez

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Her father was born in Texas, her mother in Zacatecas, Mexico. After meeting in California, they made Oceanside their home. Now, Esther Sanchez is the mayor of the city.

Like that of so many other Latinos in the U.S., her story is one of resilience, opportunity, and an unwavering willingness to make her community a fair place for everyone.

After training at Brown University in urban studies and in law at the University of California, San Francisco’s Hastings School of Law, she joined the La Raza Student Association to begin her close work in advocacy.

After working for a year for the San Diego County Council and the county public defender’s office, Sanchez began thinking about a career with City Hall.

That was the beginning of her reconnection with her community.

“Running for the first time, I got to talk to family and friends,” she explains on her campaign’s website. “I felt a tremendous connection and love for a community that gave me so much. Winning the council seat was a very humbling experience because now I was responsible for the quality of life of over 174,000 people.”

Her priorities as a councilwoman for 20 years have been to protect people’s civil rights, help the homeless and safeguard the environment, Sanchez told the San Diego Tribune. 

In an August interview, Sanchez told The Voice of San Diego that her top priorities are proactively investing in Black and Brown kids in the community, building affordable housing for veterans and seniors, increasing the number of shelter beds for homeless residents, and establishing an independent oversight board to investigate complaints against Oceanside police officers.

She plans to continue that and more after becoming the first woman mayor and the first Latina mayor of North County’s largest city.