Georgette Gomez was the first queer Latina elected to San Diego City Council President. Now she wants to be the first queer Latina in Congress representing San Diego’s 53rd Congressional District. Growing up in San Diego’s Barrio Logan, Gomez’s first cause was environmentalism. “I grew up in an older Mexican community, Barrio logan, very close to Downtown. But Barrio Logan and Downtown are two different worlds — [Barrio Logan] has industries that are quite polluting and unsafe inside of my community. And we don’t have real infrastructure and real resources in order to get what we need to have a good quality of life,” she told HipLatina.
Gomez was in Junior High when she started an environmental club with some friends. “We were trying to promote recycling and trying to eliminate styrofoam,” she said. But that was only the beginning of what became a long career dedicated to ensuring a healthy community. When she was still in middle school, her college-aged older brother started taking her with him to MEChA events and meetings. “My major transformation was really shadowing my brother, but it was also when Pete Wilson introduced prop 187 targeting the Latino community.”
In 1994 prop 187 was passed in California to prohibit undocumented people from using non-emergency health care, public education, and other services in the State of California. The decision left Gomez shocked that people would support such hateful legislation. Years later Prop 187 was later deemed unconstitutional, but the damage was done and it motivated Gomez to get more involved in her community.
Since then Gomez has done more than her fair share of community organizing. When she got to San Diego State University, she began working with clubs that focus on environmental justice work and environmental health. When she graduated with a degree in Environmental and Natural Resource Geography, she began community organizing to try to prevent things like toxic landfills and power plants from being built in working-class communities.
Today at the core of her Congressional campaign is the same holistic community approach to environmental reform that she applied while she was at the city council. Things like removing lead-based paint from communities, investing in public transit to reduce emissions, and regulating the sustainable development of affordable housing reflective of the community’s needs. Gomez’s plans for Congress are to continue the work she already started since she knows too well that the federal government must work hand and hand with local government to get things done.
“I know that there are limitations to what I can do at the local level. I always found myself making reference to a lot of the issues that are not just local, [but] that are impacting people that lead to DC. So as I was getting ready to launch my reelection for council, I was doing it in the promise that I was eventually going to go there to DC to really expand the issues that I want to influence.”
Gomez must be doing something right because last week she received AOC’s endorsement along with 7 other female candidates for Congress and the Senate. A true public servant and member of the community, Gomez made sure that the most pressing matters in her district were heard and represented. Now she’s hoping to tackle things like income inequality, better-paying living wage jobs, access to education, healthcare, and the climate crisis on a wider scale.
“I think it’s time to start electing people that are reflective of the majority. So we have an opportunity to make history and not only with somebody that touches on all these different identities but actually touches issues… I’m a walking product of a lot of the issues that a lot of our society members are facing. I’m going to bring my full self to DC to push on these issues.”
You can check out her platform here. And don’t forget to vote today!