A note from Lemon Grove’s new Mayor Racquel Vasquez
Thank you all for coming out to witness the swearing in of two new council members for the City of Lemon Grove, David Arambula and Matthew Mendoza.
Congratulations and it is an honor to have you, along with the current council members, by my side, and after 20 years the swearing in of a new mayor for the City of Lemon Grove. Honestly, we are humbled by your support and honored to hear the words shared by each and every one of you.
It is your confidence in each and every one of us and for me to serve as mayor for the City of Lemon Grove that brings us together in this space today, I am grateful and excited about the bright future we will share in Lemon Grove.
I want to thank all of the community members that are here for suggesting that I run for mayor of Lemon Grove and the volunteers who helped to move our people-powered campaign forward.
Most importantly, I would like to thank each and every voter for using the power in their pen to vote for me in this election, thank you.
Some people may consider taking the oath of office a simple formality. But, it is much more than that.
The fact that I am here today, taking the oath to serve as Mayor is proof that the basics of our democracy work. Many voters believe elections are bought and sold by the powers that be and that their individual votes do not make difference.
But not this year.
The Lemon Grove voters listened to three candidates for Mayor and the voters used the power in their pen to make their choice. And it is an honor to serve my city and to be recognized as the first African American Female mayor elected in San Diego County.
I had a few of my family members here with me today. My husband, Jose Vasquez who retired from the United States Navy with 24 years of service and our two daughters Joquel and Raven. My mother, Lottie Rose, is also here with me today.
Thank you family for your unconditional love and support and for standing by my side during this remarkable journey.
My family and I love the City of Lemon Grove and are very involved in it.
Whether it is setting policy for the City, picking up trash, volunteering to paint public art or helping to distribute food and clothing to those who need it the most, my family and I participate in some form or fashion.
Now, let me tell you how I got here.
We moved to San Diego County in 1999, as many other military families do with a dream of home ownership. We decided to settle down in Lemon Grove in 2001 and are proud to call the City of Lemon Grove home.
Now, my career in government service began long before I moved to Lemon Grove.
I worked 2 years as a program specialist for the City of Newport News in Virginia, over 16 years for the City of San Diego in public relations, served five years as a planning commissioner for the City of Lemon Grove.
And in 2011 many community members asked me to run for city council.
I purchase a book titled, “How to Run for Office and Win!”
I secured the endorsement of my fellow planning commissioners and in 2012 I was elected to serve as a council member on the Lemon Grove City Council. So, government service has a special place in my heart, it is my passion!
As a leader, I have led the charge of putting people and community first on the issues - public safety, neighborhood improvements and economic development for the City.
And as a leader I have become increasingly concerned.
Concerned about the physical appearance, safety, financial health, infrastructure and current state of our city. I know residents and business owners in Lemon Grove are concerned about our local economy and the fact that we can generate more money to repair our streets and infrastructure and improve our overall quality of life. Community members are concerned about our environment, safety, jobs, park and recreation opportunities and services available to the community.
And for those who are without a job and a home, I recognize that homeless people are people first and homeless second, and that we can do our part to provide resources that will help them.
Residents and business owners have told me that we need an open and transparent government where we are working together to achieve community-based solutions to address these concerns. And thank you for sharing these concerns with me because it has inspired my vision for the City of Lemon Grove.
My vision for Lemon Grove is for it to be a financially secure, safe, people and business friendly City offering good paying jobs, arts, culture, and recreation opportunities for all to enjoy!
So, how do we get there? Well, honestly, we have a lot of work to do.
It is going to take our governing body, residents, business owners, city staff and organizations working together to create the change we want to see. And we can start right now! Will you volunteer alongside a few great local leaders who are sitting right here by my side? We are not afraid to roll up our sleeves to do the work and get the job done.
You see, my commitment is to develop relevant policies that will support a financially secure and vibrant Lemon Grove. My commitment is to ensure that smart growth happens on our terms. And my commitment to you is to be the voice of your concerns at the local, regional and statewide levels.
This is an exciting time for Lemon Grove and as we move forward, I would like to leave you with this thought. Lemon Grove can be a leader for other small cities to follow. We can be the benchmark for great government, great community living, and great business. And we can start today.
You are looking at five elected leaders who are committed to serving the City of Lemon Grove with humility and we know our city is full of people just like you who are willing to pitch in to make our city what it deserves to be. We are the new generation of leadership.
We are a diverse group of leaders representing all segments of our population and we are committed to improving the quality of life for everyone in City of Lemon Grove. Our city has a bright future ahead, and I look forward to working together with each and every one of you.
Again, thank you for your love, support and prayers for my family, and me and for each and every leader sitting in front of you today.
Happy New Year and thank you all for sharing in this historical change of leadership for the City of Lemon Grove.