Zendejas speaks

Mary Zendejas speaks at a candidates forum hosted by the Press-Telegram and Grunion Gazette on Monday, Oct. 21.

The crowded Long Beach Civic Chambers erupted into cheers and a standing ovation Tuesday evening, Dec. 3, as the City Council gained its newest member.

Councilwoman Mary Zendejas took the oath of office during the panel’s Tuesday meeting to represent Long Beach’s First District.

Zendejas won last month’s election to replace former Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez, who left the seat in June to take on her new role as a state Senator.

“I’m really excited to join these wonderful council people behind me,” Zendejas said as she sat in front of the dais, “in the passion and the devotion they give to the city of Long Beach, in order to make it a better place for everyone to live.”

In addition to confirming the addition of a new council member, the swearing-in ceremony represented a larger moment for the city: Zendejas is the first person who uses a wheelchair in Long Beach’s history to serve in an elective office.

“I think it’s important for us to recognize that her election,” Mayor Robert Garcia said, “will not only bring change to the district and the issues she cares about, but her election is going to change the city. This is a historic election.”

With Zendejas on board, Garcia said the City Council will be better equipped than ever to represent all of Long Beach’s residents.

“If you look up on this dais,” Garcia said, “you’re going to have a hard time finding a more diverse representation of what this country is all about than the folks up here. Look at this diversity. This is what America’s all about.”

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