Gonzales: Are Santa Ana’s Voters Ready?

Are Santa Ana’s voters ready to elect an openly gay City Councilmember?

This question came up in a local blog recently, in reference to my campaign for Santa Ana’s Ward 2 City Council seat. Funny enough, it’s a question that I haven’t given much thought to, probably because I’m not running to be a gay City Councilmember, I’m running to be a great City Councilmember.

As I’ve connected with Santa Ana residents, the topic of my sexuality hasn’t really come up. Sure, folks have been gracious and friendly whenever I’ve introduced them to my husband, Mark (who I’m grateful is often by my side on the campaign trail). I’m also proud to be recognized from time to time by members of our city’s diverse LGBTQ community as someone in leadership whom they can trust. But what I find voters to be most curious about are my qualifications and my values, so here’s what I believe Santa Ana’s voters are ready for:

Voters are ready to elect a Councilmember who is well qualified and up to the challenge of leading our city. Accordingly, voters are reassured by my professional experience, which spans more than 20 years in the financial services sector. Voters have come to understand that as a highly successful professional, I possess a skill set of leadership and business experience that will add value to the City Council.

Voters are ready to elect a Councilmember who has made a difference in our community. A leader whose commitment to education and service spans decades. A leader who has worked, studied, rented and owned a home in this city—in short, a leader with a vested interest in seeing Santa Ana prosper and the skills necessary to help move our city forward. Mine is a story that would have been fundamentally different if not for this wonderful city. Santa Ana is the city where I have built a family, a home, and a life—it is the city I am dedicated to serving.

Voters are ready to elect a Councilmember who recognizes that Santa Ana is a big city, with big challenges and even bigger potential. Voters understand that our next City Council must step onto the dais with big ideas if we are to see our city thrive through the 21st Century. Big ideas like embracing some rent stabilization policies to ease housing insecurity for our residents. As a Councilmember, I will push to enact a Just Cause Eviction ordinance. I will also push to strengthen our Housing Opportunity Ordinance so that we can expand access to affordable housing while we responsibly grow our city’s housing stock over all.

Voters are ready to elect a Councilmember who truly understands the issues and can offer policy proposals beyond, “Not in my backyard!” They are ready for a leader who understands that we can’t police the crises of homelessness, drug addiction, poverty and inequity away; we must confront them with bold action. Action aimed at protecting the health of our community by curbing the spread of incurable infectious diseases. Action aimed at sheltering the homeless now, while also developing long-term solutions. Action aimed at improving quality of life and ensuring that Santa Ana is a place where all residents can thrive.

In the final sprint to November 6, I’m not going to focus on whether Santa Ana voters are ready to elect a gay Councilmember. Instead, I will continue to demonstrate that I am the best prepared candidate for the job. I believe that voters are ready for experienced, independent leadership at City Hall, and that is why I believe Santa Ana voters are ready to vote for me!

Paul Gonzales is a candidate for Santa Ana City Council’s Ward 2 seat. Paul’s life has been based in Santa Ana for most of the last two decades. To learn more about Paul’s campaign, visit www.Paul4SantaAna.com.

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Voice of OC is interested in hearing different perspectives and voices. If you want to weigh in on this issue or others please contact Voice of OC Involvement Editor Theresa Sears at TSears@voiceofoc.org