On Dec. 1, Elsa Mejia, 32, was sworn in as the representative of District 5 on the Madera City Council by her sister, Daisy Jimenez, 35. Elsa is the first Latina of indigenous origin to win an election in the United States. Her grandfather was a Bracero and her parents came from Oaxaca, Mexico, to California to work in the fields. She has four siblings.
“I am very happy, it was great teamwork,” said Mejia before her swearing-in ceremony, referring to her campaign. “I had the chance to talk to most voters of the district. They expressed their support and confidence, as well as their concerns.”
Mejia won with 61.8% of the votes on Nov. 2. More people than expected voted, which could be considered an expression of the enthusiasm her campaign aroused. She had a group of young people and family members on her campaign team, with new and fresh approaches on how to reach out to residents of the district.
The evening of her swearing-in ceremony, the City Hall was full. “Normally, we might have 2–3 people here, but look at this now,” said Council Member Steve Montes. That night, the Council approved a cannabis business permit process, annexed a 10-acre development and joined an opioid settlement agreement that would bring money to the city.
Mejia’s candidacy has been reported throughout Fresno, Madera, Los Angeles and Oaxaca media.
She was born in Fresno but spent all her life in Madera, a city with a huge indigenous presence among its population.