Saturday, April 4, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 5

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on July 17th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 17 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 17

Gloria Soto announces candidacy for District 3 City Council seat

By Kasey Bubnash

Surrounded by dozens of enthusiastic supporters, lifelong Santa Maria resident Gloria Soto announced her candidacy for the City Council's District 3 seat outside the Minami Community Center on June 21.

Business owners, several recent high school graduates, and staff members of various advocacy organizations gathered outside Minami at noon that day to show support for Soto's announcement.*

Soto, a nonprofit development manager and board member with Future Leaders of America, said that if elected, she would work to represent and advocate for the needs of all Santa Marians in District 3. 

"I have grown up in and with this city," Soto said at the event, adding that she could better understand Santa Maria and its longstanding issues as a born and raised resident.

Gloria Soto, a lifelong Santa Maria resident and nonprofit development manager, is the first to announce candidacy for the Santa Maria City Council District 3 election in November.

The city, she said, should encourage developers to build housing that young and low-income families can afford to buy and rent. Santa Maria's tight housing market, she told attendees, has resulted in high rates of youth homelessness.

Soto said that at Robert Bruce Elementary, where she attended school as a child, nearly 40 percent of students are considered homeless. 

Additional affordable housing units and living wage jobs could deter homelessness and poverty, Soto said. As a councilmember, Soto said she would work to bring tech, ag, and aerospace companies–all of which provide high wage jobs–into Santa Maria.

"My key issues, affordable housing and living wage jobs, are in service to my primary passion," Soto told attendees, "our youth of Santa Maria."

Soto said that as an Allan Hancock College and Chapman University alum, she knows how difficult it can be for graduates to return to Santa Maria after college. With increased collaboration between the city and local school districts, and by improving job and housing opportunities in Santa Maria, Soto said she hopes to change that. 

"If our community wants to reduce youth violence and change the odds for our community's future," she said, "it has to invest in its young people. All of them."

Soto is the first to announce candidacy for District 3, which encompasses the southwestern portion of Santa Maria. Mayor Pro Tem and two-term City Councilmember Jack Boysen, who currently represents District 3, announced in a written statement on June 7 that he would not run for re-election.

Santa Marians living in both Districts 3 and 4 will vote on city representatives in November, and candidates will have until Aug. 10 to file candidacy with the county.

*This article was edited for clarity.


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