Latest election results show Gloria Soto leading by almost 300 votes in the Third District council race.
The 29-year-old is on track to becoming the youngest woman ever elected to the Santa Maria City Council.
Soto said her hard work during the campaign trail is paying off.
“Every weekend we had about ten different volunteers that would show up and help us door knock,” she said.
As of last Friday, the nonprofit development manager is leading over incumbent councilman Dr. Michael Moats by 289 votes. They were at first only separated by 44 votes.
“It feels amazing! I think that this last update that we got on Friday really shows our ‘Get out the Vote’ efforts,” said Soto.
Soto said those efforts also restored some people’s faith in the electoral process.
“‘Our vote doesn’t matter, why vote?'” Soto said some people asked her. “And so I felt like our campaign had a dual mission, a twin mission and that was to restore people’s faith in government.”
Now she’s getting ready to tackle some of the biggest challenges the city of Santa Maria is facing.
“The city is facing about an $8.5 million deficit and that is something that we’re going to be working on.”
Affordable housing and job growth are her priorities, too.
“We need to work on having more affordable housing here in the city of Santa Maria. One of the ways that we can do that is by having inclusionary housing ordinances. And we need job growth. One of the ways that we can do that is by working alongside our apprenticeship programs and having project labor agreements set in place,” Soto said.
Officials have until early December 2018 to finish tallying up the votes.
Regardless of the outcome in the District 3 race, incumbent councilman Moats will stay on City Council as his current seat wasn’t up for re-election. His term ends in 2020. Moats was running in District 3 due to recent changes from at-large elections, to district races.
Moats wasn’t available to speak to KCOY 12 on Monday.