Councilmember Esmeralda Soria was elected to represent Council District 1 in the City of Fresno on November 4th of 2014 and sworn in on January 6th of 2015.
Esmeralda was born and raised in Tulare County by Mexican immigrant farmworkers. Education and always giving back to the community were two values both of her parents instilled in her.
After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, she was offered a fellowship in Sacramento at our State Capitol where she worked for two years on issues of public safety, education, and women’s health. Esmeralda then decided to continue her education, earning her Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Davis. During her time in law school, Esmeralda was offered an internship at The White House and devoted countless hours to pro bono work in economically disadvantaged communities.
Esmeralda’s passion has always been to give back to the community that shaped who she is today. After law school, she became the Sustainable Rural Communities Project Director for California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation where she continued to work on issues impacting the Central Valley, including the City of Fresno. Esmeralda’s advocacy work in front of city councils and county boards of supervisors provided her a key understanding of how local government works. She learned how to build coalitions and work together with government to ensure working families were benefitting from their budgetary and policy decisions. She was instrumental in ensuring that our communities had equal access to Safe Routes to School Program (AB 561) and Unmet Needs Transportation funding. In 2012, she was recognized for her vision, leadership and zealous advocacy for the community.
Her continued commitment to public service brought her to work as District Director to Senator Michael J. Rubio and later as a Policy Advisor to Assemblymember Henry T. Perea. As District Director, Esmeralda built partnerships with community leaders to address unemployment rates in the Central Valley, workforce development, and education among others. She also worked with community leaders to ensure that Fresno received its fair share of public safety dollars to keep criminals off our street and ensure our neighborhoods are safer. Esmeralda also brought local government agencies together to fight against the elimination of redevelopment funds, which the City of Fresno relied on. She has championed water quality and affordability issues and helped secure safe drinking water emergency funding for disadvantaged communities throughout the Central Valley.
Esmeralda has served on boards of Hands On Central California, Fresno Barrios Unidos and UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic Council. She has also taught at San Joaquin College of Law. In 2014, Esmeralda was named a 40 under 40 in the Central Valley by Business Street Online.
Today, she continues to serve the community as a Fresno EOC Commissioner and professor at Fresno City College.
Esmeralda believes we must work together to move the City of Fresno forward and make it a great place to raise our families. She is committed to work hard to make our city a safer and stronger community for everyone.