News & Events

Inauguration Speech

Thank you so much Denise, you've been a great mentor.

Thank you to my wife, Xochitl and my daughter Izel. Gracias a mi familia, a mis vecinos.

Thank you to the countless volunteers who were with me from the first campaign organizing meeting, to the celebration on election night.

Thank you to the members of my staff which have agreed to sacrifice with me, during my service to the city.

And most of all, thank you to the people of District 8. I?m humbled by the trust you?ve placed in me.

When I was 17, I was told that my family and I were going to be homeless.

Our home had been sold, and despite our attempts to purchase it, the man who knocked on our door that morning was coming by to tell us we had 30 days to get out. He only spoke English, I had done so many times before, I had to translate to my mom who was monolingual. As he told me that we had to move out, I tried to think of a way to translate his words that wouldn?t bring my mother to tears. I couldn't hide under the reality as I sometimes was able to do when I translated in our Parent-Teacher conferences.

I soon realized that this was impossible and I told her the brutal truth: we were going to lose our home. My mother was a pretty strong woman, but that day, I?ll never forget, I saw a little bit of fear in my mother?s eyes as she heard the news.

We were all afraid that we would have nowhere to go. If we couldn?t afford to rent in Barrio Logan, how could we afford to live in San Diego at all? We would?ve never been able to solve this problem by ourselves. And we didn?t.

My lifelong neighbors, the Garcias, took me in while my parents stayed with family. Eventually, my family figured out the "process" to find a new home, and we achieved a portion of the American Dream.

It is in others that we often find hope in our moments of need. As Americans we tend to believe that we can overcome all obstacles to success on our own. But sometimes no matter how hard you try, you can?t do it alone.

We are often reminded how intractable the City?s problems are, and indeed our problems are so large that it is easy to despair. But it?s important to realize that many families in District 8 overcome much scarier problems every single day.

People are losing their homes, parents have to find a way to support their children on eight dollars an hour, retired military veterans have stretch their monthly pension further and further to cover increasing health care costs. Families make hard choices and lean on their neighbors for support. By pulling together, they find solutions.

We can do the same at the city. We have the luxury of having elected leaders who try very hard to make things better. But no matter how hard we all try, if we don?t try together, it?s not going to get any easier. Whether it?s balancing our budget, or finding a way to revitalize our local economy and our neighborhoods, we have to work together and treat each other with dignity and respect. The problems belong to all of us, and it?s going to take all of us to solve them.

Thank you.

View The Inauguration Ceremony