DOWNEY – City Council hopeful Friné Medrano believes that she can bring her 20 years of Downey residency and 10 years of working in government to help bring her vision to the city.
Medrano, 33, is a product of the Downey Unified School District. She’s a proud alumni of Warren High School, where she found a passion in the arts and was highly involved in many such programs like musical theatre and drama.
However, Medrano credits finding her political passions through many influences, specifically through her mother.
“She was a UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers International Union) union member, [and] also became a SEIU organizer,” said Medrano. “So within that, when she became active in the union, part of it is to volunteer in campaigns. So she’s the one that dragged me, not literally, but she definitely said, ‘hey, this is where you should try out getting more involved in the community.’”
Medrano volunteered for her first political campaign with the assembly, which is where she has now worked for 10 years.
“At the time it was then Assembly Member Kevin De Leon,” said Medrano. “…As you know now he is the second most powerful man in the State of California, being the Senate leader. I’ve always said I’ve hit the lottery, definitely working for a legislator that not only talks the talk, but walks the walk.”
Medrano says that her time working for De Leon has also been a major inspiration to start her own political career.
“A lot of people get jaded…they lose interest in government and politics,” said Medrano. “But if anything working for who I work for has definitely fueled my fire to keep going and keep pursuing my own career in politics – continue to do public service. So I am very blessed in that sense.”
This is Medrano’s first time running for any kind of office, as she attempts to fill the District 3 seat that Councilmember Roger Brossmer will vacate at the end of his term later this year.
Medrano’s platform includes the introduction of a youth fund, which she says she is most excited about.
“I would set up a youth fund working with the business community here in Downey…,” said Medrano. “…I’ve been going on a listening tour and a lot of these like Downey AYSO, a lot of these nonprofit organizations don’t have access to funding…I think as a city we need to invest in our youth. That’s what’s going to make them come back and give back to their community. That’s what’s going to make them productive citizens of Downey like I have. I’ve been able to widen my horizons, to work with the best of the best when it comes to government, and now I’m bringing that knowledge, that experience, back to the city of Downey.”
Medrano also hopes to develop a “one stop shop” for the needs of Downey businesses.
“I get that Downey is very pro-business; we’ve seen the influx of new development and a lot of businesses here in the city of Downey,” said Medrano. “One thing that I’ve noticed is there’s not a one-stop shop for our businesses here. There’s not a business regional source center where you can learn about how to get county contracts, where you can learn how to not only open up a business, but how to thrive. Just a one stop shop for businesses.”
Medrano says that she has already had talks with various businesses and political figures to help guide her and bring her visions to life.
Medrano also touched upon the looming vote to increase sales tax in Downey by a half-cent, which was voted on back in March by City Council, albeit controversially, to be added to the ballot.
“Currently, my concern with the sales tax increase is not having the safeguards needed to know exactly where the appropriate funding is gonna go to,” said Medrano. “I believe that in order to have the public trust and be transparent in government, we should not be scared of the two-thirds majority vote, so that we can have those safeguards in place. There’s been a high level of new development in the city of Downey, so I think that it’s a bit premature to add a sales tax increase, because once it’s there it doesn’t go back, it doesn’t decrease.”
Medrano has recently taken to social media to aid her campaign. Residents can find more information on her via Facebook or on Instagram at @frinemedranofordowney.
City Council candidates can officially submit their nomination forms next month, and the election will be held Nov. 8.