Meet Jesse Arreguin
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin has spent his entire life and career fighting for the values we share and delivering results.
He was elected as Berkeley's Mayor on November 8, 2016, and is the first Latino and youngest person elected Mayor in a century.
Mayor Arreguin represents the cities of Alameda County on the Executive Board of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). He also represents Berkeley on the Board for the East Bay Community Energy Joint Powers Authority, Alameda County Waste Management Authority, the JPA for the East Bay Regional Sports Fields, and chairs the Council's Agenda Committee, 2x2 Joint City/School Board Committee, 3x3 Joint Housing Authority/Council Committee; and 4x4 Joint Committee on Housing.
A Progressive Leader from the Start.
The son and grandson of farmworkers, Jesse Arreguin was born in Fresno and raised in San Francisco. Jesse grew up in a working-class household, where his parents instilled the values of hard work, public service, and giving back to others. When Jesse was young, his family was pushed out of their home in the midst of San Francisco’s skyrocketing housing market, due to owner-move-in evictions and rent increases. Jesse knows how disruptive and harmful evictions are to working families, and how essential housing security is for the success of families and children.
Jesse was motivated by the social movements of the era: the fight against apartheid in South Africa, for democracy in China, and for farmworkers’ rights in California and across the nation. Experiencing these social movements at a very early age helped Jesse develop a lifelong commitment to fighting for social justice.
As a youth, Jesse was also inspired by the life and leadership of Cesar Chavez, who taught him that one person, despite all odds, can stand up and make a difference. Chavez became a hero for Jesse, and at the age of 9, Jesse helped lead efforts to establish Cesar Chavez Street in San Francisco.
He’s been at it ever since, and for the past twenty years Jesse Arreguin has been an effective leader on the critical progressive issues we care about.
The First in His Family to Go to College, Here at Cal.
Jesse’s dream as a kid was to attend the best public university in the world, UC Berkeley. When first visiting the campus, he fell in love with the city and knew this was where he was meant to be. Despite the odds he faced, Jesse became the first in his family to graduate college.
At UC Berkeley, Jesse led efforts to increase student housing and invest in sustainable transportation, and he fought for the interests of students in City Hall as the ASUC City Affairs Director.
After graduation, Jesse decided to make Berkeley his permanent home and dedicated his career to serving the city. He loves Berkeley for its vibrancy and visionary people, incredible cultural and intellectual life, diverse neighborhoods, and history of progressive, trailblazing leadership.
14 Years of Service to Berkeley, Currently Representing Our Vibrant Downtown on the City Council.
For the last 14 years, Jesse Arreguin has served the Berkeley community.
Jesse first served on the city’s Housing Advisory Commission, where he helped secure funding for hundreds of new affordable units, helped craft Berkeley’s Condominium Conversion Ordinance, strengthened inclusionary housing policies, and fought for City funding for student cooperative housing.
In 2004, Jesse was elected citywide to serve on the Rent Stabilization Board. As Chair of the Rent Board, he strengthened renter protections to help keep families in their homes.
Jesse also served on numerous other Boards and Commissions, including the Zoning Adjustments Board, Planning Commission, Joint Density Bonus Subcommittee, and on the Downtown Area Plan Advisory Committee, where he helped write our Downtown Plan. He is also a former Boardmember for the local Sierra Club, and worked as a Legislative Aide to a Berkeley City Councilmember.
In 2008, longtime Berkeley City Councilmember Dona Spring passed away. Before her death, she asked Jesse to run to succeed her in office, so Jesse did, and he won. That year Jesse became the youngest person and first Latino ever elected to the Berkeley City Council. For 8 years, Jesse Arreguin represented our vibrant Downtown and portions of North Berkeley.
Authored and Passed Over 300 Laws on the City Council that Have Made a Difference.
On the City Council, Jesse Arreguin has been an effective consensus builder. He has helped move the City away from polarization, working constructively with his colleagues, local business, and community leaders to advance practical, forward-thinking solutions on pressing city issues.
As Councilmember, Jesse Arreguin had one of the most effective records, having drafted and passed over 300 pieces of progressive legislation that have made a real difference for us. Jesse Arreguin has expanded affordable housing throughout Berkeley, helped establish our minimum wage, protected our environment, co-wrote our Downtown Plan to revitalize the heart of our city, saved our historic Main Post Office, balanced eight city budgets, and fought for tenants, immigrants, and our civil liberties.