Mayor Vanessa Quiroz-Carter
After being sworn in as Watsonville's new mayor, Vanessa Quiroz-Carter (center) is congratulated by her mother, Sandra Quiroz-Carter. Photo: Todd Guild/The Pajaronian

When Vanessa Quiroz-Carter and Maria Orozco were sworn in Tuesday as Watsonville’s mayor and vice mayor, it marked the second time in the city’s history that women held both top spots.

The last time was in 2019, when Rebecca Garcia and Trina Coffman-Gomez served in the roles, City Clerk Irwin Ortiz said.

Watsonville residents changed the way the city’s mayor is selected in 2014, when more than 60% of voters approved Measure I. Now, they are chosen on a rotating, consecutive basis.

In her opening remarks, Quiroz-Carter said she supported attendees’ demands that the Watsonville City Council draft a resolution calling for a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

“There are times in life when you have to look beyond politics and beyond religion and see human suffering,” she said.

Quiroz-Carter said she welcomes people approaching her with their concerns.

“Let’s come together to help shape the future of our city,” she said.

Quiroz-Carter also had a message for young people of Watsonville and “anyone grappling with feelings of stagnation, uncertainty or hopelessness.”

“Change is possible despite the current circumstances,” she said. “Life often places us in uncomfortable situations where we might feel out of place. Embrace those moments. Despite encountering negativity, or facing judgment, always respond with grace and kindness.”

Orozco thanked the mentors who have helped her during her political career, which she began at 23. This included former Mayor Lowell Hurst and Ana Ventura Phares, who was the first Mexican-American woman to serve on the Watsonville City Council. 

Phares also swore Orozco in as Vice-Mayor.

“Thank you for being that trailblazer, and paving the way for younger generations,” Orozco said. 

vice mayor maria orozco
Watsonville Vice-Mayor Maria Orozco is sworn in by former mayor Ana Ventura Phares as the rest of the city council looks on. Photo: Todd Guild/The Pajaronian
Previous articleSanta Cruz County grappling with millions in unpaid federal disaster relief
Next article‘Catz aim to compete for shot at league title | Girls soccer 
General assignment reporter, covering nearly every beat. I specialize in feature stories, but equally skilled in hard and spot news. Pajaronian/Good Times/Press Banner reporter honored by CSBA.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here