Get to know: Alexandria Contreras

Andre Lucas, Co-Copy Editor

Declaring her candidacy in June, Alexandria Contreras challenges Mayor Blanca Pacheco, to represent District 1 on the Downey City Council. A lifelong Downey resident, Contreras graduated from Warren High School and Cal. State Long Beach before working for nonprofits in housing and electoral politics. Though her work took her to states like Massachusetts, New Mexico, Arizona, and Virginia, Contreras decided to come back to Downey, bringing what she learned to better her hometown.

 

One of the key issues Contreras will address is the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the City of Downey to shut down, changing how residents live and work. Seeking to fix these problems if elected, she laid out her plan to adapt to the new changes the virus created.

 

“One of the most important things we have to do is to make sure people stay in their homes…  people cannot be healthy… if they’re struggling with bouncing from place to place,” Contreras stated. “Second priority would be re-examining how we allow business to happen in the City of Downey… a year or so ago, the state authorized ‘cottage food industries’ [where] you can open up a small business in your home… and that’s something that I would like to open up here… because as of right now we make it illegal to do that.”

 

Given her previous experience before running, Contreras will also focus on the issue that she is most passionate about, which is housing. In explaining how she will combat this issue, she also revealed a dark history of Downey’s treatment of minorities when it comes to homeownership, which plays a key role in certain aspects of the issue.

 

“Downey has had a history of racial covenants within the deeds of their homes, basically saying that if you are not white… you are not allowed to buy that home,” Contreras said. “[It’s] a history of Downey that we must address in terms of homeownership, why is housing so expensive, how do we bring in new people, and how do we make Downey a place that’s accessible and affordable to everyone who wants to call it home.”

 

Since she is challenging an incumbent, Contreras makes her case as to why residents should choose her over Pacheco, explaining her record of advocating for fair housing as well as her response as a candidate to the impact of Coronavirus.

 

“I have a record of fighting for human rights [since] housing is a human right and fighting for these rights,” Contreras said. “And when it [came] down to COVID, I was on the ground right away asking for a strong mask ordinance, asking for a safe streets program, asking to extend the deadline for moratoriums… and so I feel that alone sets a really strong record.”

 

The city council elections are on Nov. 3. To get in touch with Contreras, her email is [email protected]