Former Downey mayor Mario Guerra releases autobiography
DOWNEY -- You’d be hard-pressed to find someone in the City of Downey who doesn’t know the name Mario Guerra.
Once described as “Downey’s biggest cheerleader,” the former mayor can often be found out in the community fraternizing with friend and stranger alike, or sitting on the bench at the corner of Downey Avenue and 2nd Street with a good cigar in hand.
Yet there is a fair amount of back story included in the saga of this particular mainstay Downey resident.
Guerra’s new book, “Embracing Change: An Immigrant Saga,” is the autobiographical story of the life, faith, and lessons learned of a once 6-year-old Cuban boy on one of the first “Viaje De Libertad” (Freedom Flights).
Guerra’s initial motivation for the book may seem morbid if not outright spooky; no man in his immediate family has lived past the age of 60, and he turns 59 next year.
“I started writing this as way to kind of leave a bit of family history,” said Guerra. “But then on the way through it I thought why not [include] lessons I’ve learned in politics, in business and my own faith journey.”
The book touches on several elements in Guerra’s life including family, faith, business, and politics.
While the book is Guerra’s own personal life story, he also says that it reflects the journey that many immigrants endure.
“Embracing change has been one of the mantras of my family, and that’s why I called it that,” said Guerra. “It’s been the mantra for every refugee, for every immigrant who’s ever came [to the US].”
Guerra says that his book contains recollections of some of his success, mistakes and struggles, which he hopes can provide insight and inspiration.
“It talks about this 6-year-old immigrant that came on one of the first freedom flights to being mayor of the city that put people on the moon,” said Guerra. “It’s just a big contrast on that.”
Guerra’s daughter, Haley, says the book reflects, “The Mario that people don’t know.”
“A lot of people know the politics of Mario already,” she said. “What I want to stress is there’s a lot more to it that is relatable to people who don’t know him as just the mayor, city councilman in Downey.”
“Embracing Change: An Immigrant Saga” can be found at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and most major booksellers.
The book was edited by Eric Pierce, who was hired by Guerra to do so independently and separate of his role at the Downey Patriot.