REACT hosts a webinar to learn more about the young councilmembers in the Central Valley

Alexis Delgadillo, Reporter

The Regional Advocates Countering Tobacco (REACT) hosted a seminar called “Old Enough to Lead: A Conversation with Young Councilmembers in the Central Valley” on April 29. 

REACT planned the event to inspire more youth and young adults to take up space in positions of leadership because they are the future. The seminar panel included: Councilmember of Kingsburg, Jewel Hurtado, Councilmember of Lindsay, Hipolito Angel Cerros, Councilmember of Mendota, Jose Alonso, Councilmember of Sanger, Esmeralda Hurtado, Councilmember of Porterville, Daniel Peñaloza, and finally Councilmember of Delano, Salvador Solorio-Ruiz. The panel was moderated by members of the California Coalition for Youth. 

The seminar consisted of the council members introducing themselves/ telling their stories and in the second half, they answered questions from the audience. Councilmember Hurtado was born and raised in the Central Valley. She was 20 when she was elected a representative for District 1. Her passions include her 3-year-old son, and creating safe spaces for youth and members of the LGBTQIA community. Her goal is to empower today’s young people and show them that their voices matter and that they have the power to make a difference. 

“From a very young age I understood that politics is so closely tied to everyday life,” said Hurtado. 

Councilmember Cerros is a senior at the University of California, Davis majoring in Science and Technology Studies. He said he believes his education has prepared him for the responsibilities that come with serving his community. 

Councilmember Alonso was born in Fresno and raised in the community of Mendota. He serves on the Mendota City Council as the youngest council member to ever be elected. In college, his favorite courses dealt with government, and ever since then, he has wanted to get involved in helping people. 

Councilmember Hurtado was born and raised in Sanger. She serves as the youngest and only woman on the Sanger City Council. She explained how she is a community leader who is passionate about serving and protecting her community. 

Porterville Councilmember Peñaloza was elected in 2018 and was the youngest person to be elected in the city’s history. He works at the Community Water Center as a Water Leadership Strategist. He continues to be an active community leader and promote positive social change. 

Councilmember Solorio-Ruiz is one of the youngest council members in Delano. After graduating from California State University, Fresno he returned to his community because he felt an obligation to build up the place that built him up. Most of the council members are the youngest to ever serve and a lot started at community colleges like Bakersfield College and went on to transfer to UC’s and CSU’s.

They all put a huge emphasis on how they want to better their communities and encourage young people to care about their communities too. And how much young people’s voices matter and how they can get involved to make sure their voices are heard.