“My journey as a council member is to learn, grow and serve,” describes Alma Hernandez, a new member of Suisun City’s City Council.
Alma Hernandez was the highest-voted City Council candidate in Suisun’s November 3rd, 2020 election. Before becoming a council member, she was the President of the Solano Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Founder of Latinas de Solano County, and Board Member of the Solano County Library Foundation, as well as serving on various councils in Solano County. Community involvement grips her.
It began when she was younger. She grew up in Suisun. In high school, she joined the Key Club, Honor Society, the International Student Club, and was the leader of the marching band at Armijo High School. She went on to attain her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from CSU Sacramento. While attending the university, she was involved in multiple organizations and committees including CSUS Women in Business and the Future Business Leaders of America Phi Beta Lambda. Post-graduation, she began working with school districts across California. She expressed the importance of that early position.
“It gave me a sense of working on something I was really passionate about, which was education. Also, working with a diverse group of people from all over the state, understanding policy, governance like local school boards, and budget and finance. It gave me a foundation for what the city council role was.”
Moreover, Hernandez credits her entrepreneurship spirit as a building block to success. “When I moved back to the area, I decided to launch an event planning business working with nonprofits in the area. I reached out to the Solano Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to help support their fundraising efforts and its work with nonprofits,” a gateway to Hernandez’s target demo. “I found it was such a great way to collaborate with the business leaders in the community. Now, I’ve been a board member for eight years!”
Hernandez has been able to find mentorship and close friendships in her time serving on the various committees. “For three years, other local leaders asked me ‘Have you ever thought about running [for city council]?’ At the time, I didn’t know if that was an opportunity.”
This self-doubt among women is often named the Confidence Gap or Ambition Gap. Among young adults, men are twice as likely as women to have considered running for office someday, according to a study conducted by American University’s School of Public Affairs and Loyola Marymount University. The study also states that even if their politically relevant skills were equal, women were more likely than men to question their qualifications. Furthermore, for men, 84 percent of those who were encouraged to run for office considered doing so. For women, 66 percent who’ve received any encouragement to run for office reported interest in a future candidacy.
Like Nike, Hernandez advises women to just do it. “It doesn’t have to be mayor or city council. It can be a school board, a community program like PTA, or a neighborhood watch. There’s so many opportunities for women to serve in leadership positions and grow.”
She also says that being a millennial Hispanic woman does give her a certain perspective and brings diversity to the delegation.
Her uniqueness can be compared to the diversity that Suisun City offers. Hernandez likes that there are various methods to arrive at Suisun including boat, train, cycle, and car. This brings an opportunity to make the town more attractive. “It needs to be a place where families can go and enjoy walking the waterfront, enjoy the downtown businesses, and it has diversity.”
She reminisces about the potential Suisun City had before the COVID shutdown. “Before shelter-in-place, we had downtown events and you saw the diversity. You saw and felt the community! It connects people. I’m looking forward to when neighbors can be neighbors again.”
Hernandez says a strategic plan, which is in place until 2025, lays out a goal of improving the quality of life, revitalizing downtown, and helping small businesses. “There’s an opportunity in Suisun City to attract businesses that are unique to our community. I’m looking forward to that.”
If you’re a woman interested in running for elected office, Alma Hernandez recommends the program she used, Emerge California.