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MEET BLANCA

MAYOR OF DOWNEY. LIFELONG PUBLIC SERVANT.

The daughter of a nurse and public school bus driver, both union members, Blanca Pacheco grew up in a working class community. Blanca understands the California Dream, because she and her family have lived it.

Growing up, Blanca attended elementary school in Cudahy. She then went to Middle School and High School in Downey. 

As a child, Blanca witnessed her parents' unyielding work ethic and determination to build a middle class life for their family. Her mother, Mariana Pacheco, worked as a union nurse at LAC/USC Medical Center and today serves as the Nursing Director at Downey Adult School where she is a member of the Downey Education Association. Mariana Pacheco currently serves as an elected member of the Cerritos College Board of Trustees. Blanca’s father, Gonzalo “Gonzo” Pacheco, served as a public school bus driver, school district locksmith and ran a small local landscaping business. 

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As a young family, their dream was to own a home one day. To that end, nearly every weekend during her teenage years, Blanca joined her father and helped do the work at his landscaping business, cleaning home yards to bring in extra money that would later be used so that the family could purchase their own home. In her teenage years, after receiving her black-belt, Blanca taught Karate, alongside her father who also taught the discipline.

The values of strong work ethic, determination and building a better life for both family and community have been the driving forces behind Blanca’s life’s work of giving back.

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After graduating from Downey High School, Blanca attended UCLA, receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Specialization in Chicano/a Studies in 1996. Thereafter, she went on to Loyola Law School. While there, Blanca worked at the Loyola Law School Center for Conflict Resolution where she helped mostly Spanish speaking community members mediate disputes and resolve conflicts between neighbors and businesses. She later graduated from Loyola and passed the California State Bar Exam in 2003.

After law school, Blanca worked as a substitute classroom teacher at Downey Unified School District. She served as a substitute teacher for students ranging from Kindergarten through 12th grade, and had a teaching assignment as substitute Spanish teacher at the high school level. Blanca also worked as a part time paralegal instructor at Downey Adult School for a number of years.

As an attorney, Blanca has worked in municipal law and in estate planning. Her passion, however, is serving the people in public service. That’s why as an attorney, she provided pro bono services through various legal organizations, such as the Southeast District Bar Association (SEDBA) and the Mexican American Bar Association (MABA).

In 2012, she joined the Kiwanis Club of Downey, an international organization committed to helping the children of the world. She became the President of her Kiwanis Club in 2014. In 2014, she became involved in Teen Court, an alternative program for youth offenders; and was instrumental in bringing Teen Court to Downey. Due to her commitment to the community, Blanca was recognized with Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia’s Downey's Woman of the Year in 2016. In 2019, she was inducted into Downey High School’s Hall of Fame, as an “Exemplary Civic Leader.”

The first-ever Latina to serve in the position, Blanca Pacheco is the Mayor of the City of Downey, the largest city in California’s 64th State Assembly District. She was first elected to the Downey City Council in 2016 and became Mayor in 2020.

As a local elected leader, Blanca has also been active in the California League of Cities in order to help advance the interests of the people she represents. In this capacity, she previously served as President of the League of California Cities Los Angeles Division, and was the first elected official from Downey to serve in this position. Blanca is a former Chair of the Housing, Community, and Economic Development Policy Committee and also serves on the League of California Cities’ State Board as an at-large director.

On the City Council and as Mayor, Blanca Pacheco has always put people and local neighborhoods first. That’s why amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020, she spearheaded a moratorium on rent for both commercial as well as residential tenants to help working people stay in their homes and to assist local small businesses, preventing countless stores from closing. Right now Blanca is working with Los Angeles County to open up three additional COVID testing locations in the City of Downey to make testing more accessible for people throughout the city.

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A strong advocate for modernizing the city’s infrastructure, Blanca, with the support of her Council colleagues, helped invest in a myriad of projects to improve the city, modernizing every Downey City Fire Department facility and city park, as well as upgrading local roads across Downey with street repaving and upgrades. She’s also worked to invest in programs to fight climate change and protect clean air, installing solar panels at six civic buildings, as well as electric vehicle charging stations, all to minimize the city’s carbon footprint. Blanca, in conjunction with the city, additionally teamed up with Tree People, to plant hundreds of new trees throughout Downey to expand clean air in the city.

As part of her efforts to empower women, Blanca was instrumental in bringing Girls on Fire to Downey. The first-of-its-kind program in the region, the effort is singularly focused on empowerment for young middle school and high school women, emphasizing self-defense, social media etiquette, healthy relationships, and introducing the youth to females who are role models in different fields, from healthcare to public safety and law. Blanca is also a member - Gangs Out Of Downey (GOOD) - an organization dedicated to keeping kids off the streets and out of gangs in the city.

If you don’t find Mayor Blanca Pacheco at City Hall or in the community talking with neighbors or helping those in need at local events, you will likely find her in a yoga studio, at a cross-fit training gym or even walking her dog Mr. Belvedere.