THE EAST BAY needs a proven, progressive problem-solver in the State Senate to build a safer, more affordable East Bay. Jesse Arreguín is an experienced, effective mayor and immediate past president of our regional government body, ABAG. He has taken on our region’s toughest challenges and made real progress–creating affordable housing, reducing homelessness, raising the minimum wage, and keeping his community safe.
The son of farmworkers, and a progressive leader from the start
As the son and grandson of migrant farmworkers, fighting for social justice is in Jesse Arreguín’s DNA. When he was just 10 years old, Jesse marched with Dolores Huerta and helped lead efforts to rename San Francisco’s Army Street after his hero, Cesar Chavez. He’s been at it ever since.
Overcoming the odds to achieve the California Dream, and dedicating himself to making the Dream real for others
Growing up in San Francisco, Jesse’s family faced housing insecurity in the Bay Area’s tightening housing market and were evicted from their home several times. Years later, when Jesse became the first in his family to attend college, at UC Berkeley, he knew that anything is possible, that if we invest in our young people, a son of farmworkers can achieve the California Dream. So he dedicated his life to public service to make the Dream real for as many others as he could.
A history-making mayor focused on making his city and region safer and more affordable
In 2008, at age 24, Jesse was elected to the Berkeley City Council, where, over three terms he worked to expand affordable housing, protect our environment, and revitalize his Downtown. In 2016, at age 32, he was elected Berkeley’s first Latino Mayor, and its youngest in a century. That same night, Trump was elected president. The next four years would be anything but easy: White supremacists marching in our streets. Rising homelessness. Surging housing costs. Pandemic and recession. A reckoning around race and policing. And worsening climate change. But in the face of unprecedented challenges, Mayor Arreguín boldly led his city, becoming one of the Bay Area’s most forward-thinking and effective mayors. In 2020, he was re-elected in one of the biggest landslides in Berkeley history.
- Made local neighborhoods safer, hiring more community police officers who live in the areas they serve, addressed root causes of crime by investing in violence prevention, and fought gun violence by banning untraceable ghost guns.
- Negotiated with his police department to increase police oversight and introduced historic reforms to shift responses to mental health and homeless issues from police to trained social workers, enabling police to focus on violent crime—advancing criminal justice reform while keeping people safe.
- Reduced homelessness through mental health and housing, launching new mental and drug treatment services, shelters, and permanent housing. As a result, homelessness in Berkeley decreased the past 2 years, while it increased 22 percent countywide.
- Helped raise the minimum wage, and fought for equal pay for women and for a higher standard of living for working families.
- Jesse is leading the East Bay in addressing the housing crisis, building more new housing in Berkeley than the city has seen in decades, and approving hundreds of new affordable homes.
- Led his city in building its largest ever affordable housing development, and making its biggest ever investment in tenant protections—keeping hundreds of renters in their homes.
- Partnered with Planned Parenthood to make Berkeley a sanctuary city for women’s reproductive health and gender-affirming care, and is leading the fight to save Alta Bates Hospital.
- Combating climate change through groundbreaking leadership, phasing out throw-away plastics and banning natural gas in new buildings. These policies are now being followed by cities across America.
- Helped launch Berkeley Promise, a scholarship program for low-income students, to narrow the city’s education opportunity gap, and negotiated a historic agreement with UC Berkeley to build more student housing.
- Stood up to hate groups, launching the We Stand United Against Hate campaign, and protected our undocumented communities during the Trump presidency.