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Gloria Soto

Gloria Soto
Santa Maria City Council – District 3 Candidate: Gloria Soto
Candidate Name:Gloria Soto (*incumbent)
Position Sought:Santa Maria City Council – District 3
Website / Social
Facebook: smcmsoto
Instagram: @smcmsoto
Why are you running for office?
I'm humbly asking for a second term because even though we've made a lot of progress over the last four years much work still needs to be done. I want to continue pushing for policies that benefit all residents, especially those who are under-served and underrepresented. I believe that when our must underserved thrive, we all thrive. And, I wholeheartedly believe in our City and that it can lead in making life easier for our most vulnerable, our families, youth, and workers.
What makes you qualified for the job?
I was born, raised, and educated in Santa Maria. I'm the daughter of immigrant farm-worker parents, who made numerous sacrifices to ensure I would have a better life. I've dedicated my young professional career to serving my community. I'm currently the Executive Director of Future Leaders of America (FLA), one of the largest Latino youth-serving organizations in California. Before joining the FLA team, I served in various positions at Planned Parenthood California Central Coast (PPCCC), including education, public affairs, and development. As the Director of Public Affairs, I expanded access to quality reproductive health care, including safe and legal abortion, through community engagement and public policy. In 2018, I was the youngest woman elected to the Santa Maria City Council as part of the national wave of young women of color seeking representation in local governments.
What are your two main priorities if you win?
AFFORDABLE HOUSING: The pandemic not only made work hard to come by but throughout the last two years, we've seen unjust rent hikes. Our families cannot afford to keep paying sky-high rent prices; we don't want to price out our families from our City. We must ensure that our families have a safety net, beginning with housing affordability. Therefore, affordable housing will be my priority over the next four years. I envision a community with plentiful affordable housing units; I also envision extending our rent voucher program to all residents and continuing my efforts for an Affordable Inclusionary Housing Ordinance. 

YOUTH & FAMILIES: The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges of our working-class families. Even before the pandemic, families struggled to enroll in adequate and affordable childcare. During my next four years, I will propose a Youth Fund, a Fund set aside to support families in securing childcare and youth development programs for our families in Santa Maria. I will work across the aisle to dedicate 5% of our General Fund City budget to a Youth Fund. I know this will be a challenging endeavor, and we may hear a lot of NOs along the way, but it's not impossible. To create a thriving Santa Maria, we need to provide adequate funding for childcare and youth development programs. I want Santa Maria to be known as the City that takes care of its own, and this is how we will do that. In addition, we can't talk about unaffordability without talking about living wage jobs. I will continue my efforts on living wages by championing a Community Work Force Agreement Program to create economic development opportunities for residents and businesses within Santa Maria. A Community Work Force Agreement Program like this will ensure the hiring of residents and targeted workers and encourage the participation of local small business enterprises. A program like this can increase access to prevailing wage employment that directly combats poverty and unemployment—ultimately maximizing local economic development that promotes equity and economic inclusion. 
How will you collaborate with other governments?
I will collaborate with other governments through open dialogue and communication.
What do you think are the two biggest issues that need to be addressed right away?
Housing Affordability and Youth Violence.
Article Topic Follows: Santa Maria City Council – District 3
gloria soto
Santa Maria City Council – District 3
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