BY TAMMY MURGA
After having served on the dais for three decades, National City voters have elected Ron Morrison to a new term as mayor.
The incumbent, currently a council member, is expected to be sworn into office next week alongside two new council members: Luz Molina for District 1 and Ditas Yamane for District 3.
“It’s time to put the election behind us. Everyone spent the last two years campaigning and now it’s time to get to work,” said Morrison.
He defeated Councilmember Jose Rodriguez, in what had been a close race for weeks as they were less than 100 votes apart. Morrison earned 36.7 percent of the vote, Rodriguez 36 percent and outgoing Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis 27 percent.
Elected in 2020, Rodriguez will resume his term as a council member. Sotelo-Solis, who had also served as a council member before becoming the city’s first Latina mayor, said Thursday she will continue serving the community in different capacities.
“I’ve been blessed to serve my community for 14 years,” she said. “People are still reaching out on how to get the resources and that’s what leadership is. … Mentorship is still at the forefront.”
This year’s election was the city’s first with a district-based system. Yamane, a longtime Filipino-American resident who had unsuccessfully run in previous city elections, won with 58 percent of the vote to represent the district with the highest percentage of Filipinos. She defeated Marissa Acierto, who received 41.5 percent.
Filipino/API residents make up nearly 20 percent of the city’s population, according to the 2020 U.S. Census data. Some Filipino Americans have run for office, but representation on the council has been absent over the past two decades.
Molina ran unopposed. She will represent the city’s westernmost communities with a long history of environmental advocacy. Residents there have worked to phase out auto shops that posed health hazards to nearby residents and bring healthier food options to the area.
Voters also approved changing the city treasurer and city clerk jobs from elected to appointed positions. Both positions are part time.