gtk_sotoleoA Voice for Strength

Alejandra Sotelo-Solis is paving the way for Latinas and focused on making a difference in the community.

“I am the oldest of five children from a third generation family here in National City. My family is originally from Mexico and I am proud to say that I am a bilingual, bi-cultural Latina who was brought up in a tight knit family where going to Sunday mass, having menudo or carne asada are a tradition,” Alejandra says to Giving Back Magazine.

Education has always been in Alejandra’s heart of who graduated from Kimball Elementary, National City Middle School and Sweetwater High School. As she was pursuing her education, she played softball, volleyball & basketball and it was through athletics that she learned about sportsmanship, teamwork and the importance of physical and mental well being. The competitive nature of sports has allowed her to get ready for life in politics. Continuing her education, Alejandra graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from UC San Diego and then a CORO fellowship in public policy. Her life in politics began working for two State Assembly Members as a Field Representative and then as District Director.

Her role in the community and accomplishments “I was elected in 2008 as the second woman on the City Council and was then selected by my peers to be the Vice Mayor. I serve on the council as one of five members and I also sit on SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments) on the Regional Planning Board, and our cities Capitol Improvement Subcommittee and oversee our policy on the use of our parks and open space.

Since City Council is “part-time”, I still carry a full time job at UC San Diego, where I am the Director of the Community Law Project. My program works with undergrads who want to learn about law, public policy and advocacy. It goes hand-in-glove with what I do at the City and I encourage students to shadow me or get involved in various opportunities throughout the county.

In my spare time, I also serve on the American Diabetes Association Leadership Council; Women’s Museum of California Board; UC San Diego Chicano Alumni Association Member, UC San Diego Chicano Latino Staff Association Vice President as well as being a Liturgical Minister at St. Anthony’s Church.

How she has succeeded and stayed strong “I can wholeheartedly say my success is the reflection of my entire familial and community support system which includes my wonderful husband- Arturo. I am able to be a leader in the community because of the ability to have a husband and family who sacrifice time, family outings and are lovingly there to give me their support and advice. The community support for me displays that they want a home-grown young Latina leader to bring their ideas, concerns to the decision-making table. They want to see “one of their own” succeed and because in National City there are only six degrees of separation, I can say that when I’m out in the community, I have met many constituents who have attended the same school or they know a member of my family”

Who inspires her and what she wants you to know “The older women in my family inspire me to fight for access to quality education, health care and employment. Those women include my grandmothers Rosa Cervantes and Carolina Sotelo; and my mother Susanna Cervantes. They each have worked to provide for their families, guide with discipline and always encourage me with loving words of wisdom.”