Page One

Press Release: Jesse Arreguin inaugurated as Berkeley mayor

From Stefan Elgstrand, assistant to Mayor Arreguin
Friday December 09, 2016 - 11:46:00 AM

Last night, at Old Berkeley City Hall, Jesse Arreguin was inaugurated as Berkeley’s 22nd Mayor. Arreguin, 32, is Berkeley’s youngest Mayor in over 100 years, and the first Latino to lead the city.

Arreguin ran for Mayor on a progressive platform, with a commitment to tackle the city’s affordability crisis. He was elected on November 8.

During Mayor Arreguin’s inaugural speech, he addressed the outcome of the national election and spoke of the pressing need for Berkeley’s progressive leadership in the years ahead. 

Mayor Arreguin said: “Election Night was bittersweet. While we celebrated a great progressive victory in Berkeley, our nation took a troubling turn. In the coming months and years, while we may face dark times, the light from our progressive city must shine brighter than ever. It is essential for Berkeley to lead, for our city to be a bold, progressive beacon amongst the darkness, for other cities throughout our country and our world.” 

Mayor Arreguin particularly addressed the importance of building more affordable housing, raising local wages, and alleviating homelessness. 

“Together, let us put all of our energy towards tackling our growing affordability crisis,” the Mayor said. “Let’s build more affordable housing so our working families don’t get pushed out of our great city. Let’s raise the minimum wage to a truly living wage, so that nobody who works full time in Berkeley lives in poverty. Let us show real compassion for our brothers and sisters who are sleeping on our streets, and work together to provide a pathway out of homelessness.” 

Arreguin was joined on the dais by a new progressive City Council majority, and after the swearing in, led his first Council meeting as Mayor. 


Jesse Arreguin was elected Mayor of Berkeley on November 8, 2016 and sworn in on December 1, 2016. He is Berkeley’s first Latino Mayor, and at 32, its youngest in over 100 years. 

A Progressive Leader from the Start. 

The son and grandson of farmworkers, Arreguin was born in Fresno and raised in San Francisco. He grew up in a working-class household, where his parents instilled the values of hard work, public service, and giving back. When Arreguin was young, his family was pushed out of their home in the midst of San Francisco’s skyrocketing housing market. The Mayor knows how harmful evictions are to working families, and how essential housing security is for the success of families and children. 

Arreguin was motivated by the social movements of the era: the fight against apartheid in South Africa, for democracy in China, and for farmworkers’ rights across the nation. Experiencing these social movements at a very early age helped him develop a lifelong commitment to fighting for social justice. 

As a youth, Arreguin was also inspired by the life of Cesar Chavez, who taught him that one person, despite all odds, can stand up and make a difference. Chavez became a hero for him, and at age 9, Arreguin helped lead efforts to establish Cesar Chavez Street in San Francisco. 

The First in His Family to Go to College, at UC Berkeley. 

Arreguin’s dream 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 became the first in his family to graduate college. 

At UC Berkeley, he led efforts to increase student housing and invest in sustainable transportation, and fought for the interests of students as ASUC City Affairs Director. After graduation, he made Berkeley his permanent home and dedicated his career to serving the city. 

Over 14 Years of Service to Berkeley. 

For over 14 years Arreguin has served the Berkeley community. He first served on the Housing Advisory Commission, where he helped secure funding for hundreds of new affordable units. 

In 2004, he was elected to the Rent Stabilization Board. As Chair of the Rent Board, Arreguin strengthened renter protections, to help keep families in their homes. 

In 2008, he became the youngest person and first Latino ever elected to the City Council, where he represented Downtown and portions of North Berkeley for 8 years. 

Passed Over 300 Pieces of Legislation that Have Made a Difference. 

As a Councilmember, Arreguin developed a reputation as an effective consensus builder, and had one of the Council’s most effective records, drafting and passing over 300 pieces of progressive legislation. He helped expand affordable housing, establish our city’s minimum wage, and protect our environment. He also co-wrote Berkeley’s Downtown Plan to revitalize the heart of our city, saved our historic Main Post Office, and fought for tenants, immigrants, and our civil liberties. 

Real Progressive Leadership for a Berkeley that Works for Everyone. 

Jesse Arreguin was elected Mayor of Berkeley in November 2016. As Mayor, he is committed to tackling the affordability crisis to keep our city diverse and vibrant, taking on disparities in health, housing, economic, and educational opportunity, raising the minimum wage to a living wage, making our city more environmentally sustainable, addressing homelessness through innovative solutions, strengthening our public schools, and responsibly managing our budget.