Jeannette Sanchez-Palacios is running for City Council of Ventura in California. A place she has called home since 2010. She started her life in the United States at four years old, when her mother and two older siblings arrived to Los Angeles. “It was hard to immerse in school and be somewhere where I didn’t know the language,” said Sanchez-Palacios.
Sanchez-Palacios has the four qualities that make a good public servant.
A good vs. evil battle occurred in Sanchez-Palacios’ body just as she was starting a new chapter in her life. At an age when most people are going into college and figuring out their first steps, Sanchez-Palacios was sick. The doctors did not know what it was. Finally, she was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre, an autoimmune disease that attacks the body’s neurological system. “At 19, like most 19-year-olds, I thought I was invincible, and I could conquer the world. Nothing could go wrong,” she stated.
It took Sanchez-Palacios a year and half to recover. Once she got her strength back, she went back to school. She studied journalism at Santa Monica City College and then attended UCLA. “Journalism was my first calling. My passion has always been writing,” stated Sanchez-Palacios. That passion led her to write for the Metro section of the LA Times.
It was during her time as a journalist that she realized who the community leaders were. She spent 6 years at Telemundo at the assignment desk —the nucleus of the newsroom. She was looking for something new and an opportunity came from Service Employees International Union, Local 721. She then became their communication person, which was a combination of two things she loved — politics and communication. “I put together the endorsement process and spoke on their behalf before city council, school boards and board of supervisors,” Sanchez-Palacios said.
Then in 2011, she got another opportunity. This time to serve as District Director for California State Assembly, AD 44.
Besides being an amazing journalist and community leader, Sanchez-Palacios is a mother and wife. Her daughter is a sophomore in college and her son recently turned 11. When it came time to balance everything, she had to make the hard choice between career and family. “I did have to pick. I chose my family. I had my first kid at the young age of 23,” she said.
With the support of her family and husband she continued on with her education. When her son came, her husband stayed at home full time to allow her to continue on her path. With this support she felt responsible to be something or someone.
Ventura is 32% Latino and currently has no Latino representation on City Council. Ventura is also a small community northwest of the shiny lights of Los Angeles. The city has a population of 110,000 people. “Our young people leave and go to school, but they don’t come back. So we are not economically sustainable,” Sanchez-Palacios said.
She wants to bridge the two “bookends” of the community — the young and the old. To pair the young innovators who lack patience with the patient old folks who may not be risk takers. “We are losing out on the wisdom the older generation can give and the innovation, ideas our youth can bring,” she said.
Sanchez-Palacios will have an open door policy, because she wants all the people of Ventura to be engaged. She would like to create a youth council, because she knows the youth have a lot to say. Finally, she wants to be able to use her Spanish to speak to the people that may not feel heard, and ultimately bring Latinos to city council.
Jeannette Sanchez-Palacios is a woman who hasn’t given up on herself. So I am pretty sure she won’t give up on the City of Ventura.
Hugs and Smiles,