City of Downey Welcomes Mayor Blanca Pacheco

Andre Lucas, Writer

First elected to public office in 2016 as a Downey City Council member, Blanca Pacheco is continuing her service as the first Latina Mayor of Downey. A longtime resident of Downey, Mayor Pacheco attended Downey High School before heading to UCLA, followed by Loyola Law School, and passing the CA State Bar Exam in 2003. For over a decade, Pacheco has not only practiced law in Downey, but she is also a member of a number of community service organizations, most notably the Kiwanis Club of Downey.

 

Upon making history after being sworn in as mayor, Pacheco gave her thoughts on recently shattering this glass ceiling for Latinas in Downey. Moreover, she emphasized what she hopes will come from this in regards to motivating the city’s female youth, who now have an exemplary role model that they can look up to.

 

“It actually amazes me given that we’re in 2020 that I would be the first Latina at anything, but I am proud of it,” Pacheco stated. “I hope this motivates our youth, especially our female youth to dream big and do big because that’s the important thing — that way we won’t continuously hear I’m the first Latina [or] I’m the first whatever it may be. Someday it’s just normal.”

 

When asked if she ever intended to pursue a career in local government, Pacheco explained that that was not her intention until she was encouraged to run due to the fact that Downey had not had a female council member in over a decade prior to her election. So during her presidency of Kiwanis from 2014-2015, Pacheco began meeting with elected officials and attending a number of events throughout the city before landing herself a seat on the city council.

 

“I never thought of or even dreamt of being in elected office. My goal was to eventually become a judge … but about three or four years ago, people started asking me to run,” Pacheco said. “At first I thought I couldn’t do it. I didn’t think I was qualified or good enough to do it, but I saw a need in the community… so I felt a need to do more for my community and also to get involved by being in elected office and so I ran in 2016 and that’s when I won.”

 

Aside from celebrating her recent accomplishment, Mayor Pacheco has a vision for Downey in the upcoming year, which is to encourage the city’s youth to be more active in the community through civic engagement and community service, for she values their input since they are the future of the city.

 

“My goal is to get more of our youth engaged. To get more input from our youth because it’s our youth that are going to be doing more things when they become adults,” said Pacheco. “It’s exciting, and I’d rather be there encouraging and helping the youth because I know that’s going to be our future.”

 

Since the mayor’s platform primarily focuses on the youth, Pacheco also advises that if the future generation of Downey follows their passions, whatever they may be, then they’ll enjoy pursuing those passions just as she did when she decided to enter public service.