What makes a mayor? Voters in the city of Napa are faced with this question, having our first open mayor race in 15 years.
This question is especially pertinent to me, not only because this is the first general election I will vote in, but also because of the historical implications of an open mayor's seat. Due to this, I took my time considering what candidate to support.
While there have been two candidates in the race since Mayor Techel announced she would not run for re-election, I decided to wait and see what would come closer to the election. Who else would jump in? What new challenges would our city face? Now, less than a hundred days before the election, I’ve not only made my decision, but am glad to have waited. Gerardo Martin's entrance surprised me as much as anyone, and yet, the more I have learned about him the more I could answer my original question. What makes a mayor?
The first job of any mayor is to represent their community. This is particularly true in Napa, as our mayor is the first among equals on city council, and is now the only council official elected citywide. Therefore, a candidate for mayor must display an ability to host a broad coalition of voters in their campaign. This is precisely the endeavor that Gerardo and his campaign have set upon this election. Not only seeking out the typical progressive Democrat, but reaching out to Republicans, independents, and first-time voters alike.
The campaign has supporters ranging from wine critics, to school teachers, to college students like me. Gerardo himself comes from an under-represented community, as he would be our first Latino mayor. These things are important. Citizens need to feel represented by their government, and this is doubly so of their local council. This is the first part of what makes a mayor.
One can’t govern based off of coalitions alone. While they are important and necessary, it is also vital for the mayor to have proper and relevant experience. As a financial planner, Gerardo has a unique technical know-how that will prove invaluable.
Through his experience in the private sector, Gerardo has helped manage nearly $60 million of local residents wealth and was chosen to be on the city of Napa’s Small Business Recovery Task Force. Given our imminent financial crisis, it simply makes the most sense to elect a mayor who has made a life working out these issues. No one is better prepared to serve Napa as mayor than Gerardo.
Finally, a mayor needs to have a vision. Gerardo has the right vision for our city as we move past this pandemic. As a community member, he knows the hardships faced by people in our city. It’s tough for working-class families to afford to live where they work, and for local businesses to get back on their feet.
With Gerardo as mayor, local citizens will once again be included in the vision for our city. We need a leader who can not only see the way out of this crisis, but beyond it to the future of our city. Gerardo has an inclusive and expansive vision that can be backed by everyone.
While I may be away at college, Napa is still my home. It’s where I vote, where my friends and family are, and where I’d like to end up. This race for mayor is critical to me. While it might feel like Napa is just another town, I can tell you it isn’t.
Even all the way out here in New Hampshire, people know about our city. From my roommates parents, to my Uber driver, to the monk who teaches my class, they all know our city. We need to make sure that people from around the world can keep coming to our valley, and enjoy our city, while also ensuring that our government puts locals front and center.
Through his campaign, Gerardo Martin will do that. I’ll be casting my ballot (by mail) this November for Gerardo Martin, and I would implore you to do the same.
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