Berkeley parks

Quiroz-Carter sworn in as new Watsonville councilwoman

Vanessa Quiroz-Carter was sworn in as Watsonville City Council’s new 2nd district representative during Tuesday night’s virtual meeting.

Quiroz-Carter, a Watsonville native who recently served on the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission, said she was excited to continue former councilman Aurelio Gonzalez’s work of celebrating Watsonville’s diversity. and to help guide the community through the ongoing pandemic.

His mother, Sandra Quiroz-Carter, administered the oath from their home in Watsonville.

“We are not a city divided,” Quiroz-Carter said during his first remarks to office. “Diversity of opinions and viewpoints is not a symptom of division. It is the cornerstone of our democracy. It is our responsibility and our pleasure to welcome these voices. To seek out this diversity and build a thriving community of engaged community members.

Quiroz-Carter, 35, was elected to city council in last month’s special election triggered by Gonzalez’s abrupt resignation in September, he resigned from his position due to a family medical emergency. The relative political newcomer beat out Frank Barba for the right to represent neighborhoods east of Main Street via Beck Street, including the communities surrounding Watsonville High School. The neighborhood also contains portions of California Street and Palm and Hill Avenues.

She will remain in office until 2024 and will serve as mayor in her final year in office.

She is an adjunct professor at Hartnell College and has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree in communications from Cal State East Bay.

Along with her stint on the Parks Commission, Quiroz-Carter also served on the Santa Cruz County Women’s Commission and serves as vice chair of the board of directors for the nonprofit Families In Transition.

The December special election was his second bid for public office. She first ran unsuccessfully against Gonzalez in 2020.

Quiroz-Carter was endorsed by a majority of the Watsonville City Council – Mayor Ari Parker was the only elected leader to side with Barba – and numerous community leaders such as County Office of Education Superintendent Faris Sabbah, retired Santa Cruz County Clerk Gail Pellerin and former Watsonville Councilman and Vice Mayor Ramon Gomez.

She also received endorsements from several Democratic clubs and organizations across the county, including the Pajaro Valley Cesar Chavez Democratic Club and the Santa Cruz County Democratic Party.

Several people praised her during public comments at Tuesday’s meeting. This included a person who said he was his former Ceiba College Prep student, Zurya Rodriguez.

“She was such an amazing teacher, and I can only imagine what she will do as a counselor,” Rodriguez said. “You are so lucky to have her.”