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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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City of Santa CruzCandidate for City Council

Photo of Cynthia Mathews

Cynthia Mathews

13,500 votes (13.58%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Public safety for our neighborhoods, parks, and business districts, with regional collaboration for safety net services.
  • Strong local economy across all sectors to create jobs, support city services, and provide housing to meet community needs.
  • Environmental protection: stewardship and enjoyment of our beaches, ocean, rivers, and open spaces; green energy and conservation



Profession:City Councilmember and Mayor
City Councilmember, City of Santa Cruz (1992–current)
City Council member, City of Santa Cruz — Elected position (1992–current)
Member, Democratic Party of Santa Cruz County, 3rd District — Elected position (2010–current)
Member and alternate, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council — Appointed position (2012–current)
Associate Vice President for Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte (1979–2002)
Member, Vision Santa Cruz: Earthquake Recovery Advisory Committee — Appointed position (1990–1993)


UC Berekely Bachelor of Arts, French and Art (current)

Community Activities

Co-founder and steering committee members, Downtown Neighbors Association (1973–current)
Founder and executive committee member, Reproductive Rights Network of Santa Cruz County (1994–current)
Board member, Downtown Management Corporation (1994–current)
Board member and President, Santa Cruz Historical Society, later Museum of Art and History (1974–2015)
Board member and volunteer, Friends of Santa Cruz County State Parks, including Friends of Wilder Ranch and The Adobe Coalition (1978–2002)


My close, extended family has been rooted in Northern California for generations, engaged with our community and broader issues, appreciating the natural world, connected with the arts, and committed to health and wellness. I attended public schools in Oakland and Berkeley and graduated from UC Berkeley, where I met my future husband Bill.


Bill and I lived in San Diego for five years, where I became involved with local political work and the growing environmental and women’s movements. Santa Cruz became our home in 1970 when Bill joined the faculty of UCSC. Like so many others before and after us, we were drawn to this stunningly beautiful area by its creative spirit, personal opportunity, and sense of community.


During the years our kids were growing up, I took an active role in a wide range of community issues, providing a solid foundation for my later service on the council: founding director and longtime VP of Public Affairs for our local Planned Parenthood affiliate; leader on neighborhood issues including safe streets and land use; advocate/volunteer for state and local parks; volunteer for our children’s schools and activities; active in historic preservation and board member for the Museum of Art and History. I also served as an appointed member of the City’s Planning Commission and Zoning Board for twelve years, and for Vision Santa Cruz, the advisory group that shaped recovery of downtown Santa Cruz following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.


In 1992 I decided to run for City Council, motivated specifically by my work with Vision Santa Cruz and my experience as a neighborhood advocate. I was elected that year and have since been elected to serve for a total of five terms. including four one-year terms as mayor.

Throughout that time I’ve built a reputation for dealing effectively with challenging issues, engaging community members in finding solutions, building partnerships across various sectors, and doing the homework necessary to achieve results. I’ve tried to be both responsive on immediate and emerging issues, and focused on the city’s long-term needs as well. 

I believe the depth and breadth of my experience, from grass-roots activism to long-term investment in facilities and infrastructure, can make a valuable contribution to our community, now and in the future.



Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Casey Coonerty Protti, Owner, Bookshop Santa Cruz

Organizations (1)

  • Democratic Women's Club of Santa Cruz County

Elected Officials (1)

  • Congressman Sam Farr

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

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My priorities throughout my service on the Council have consistently addressed:


  • Fostering a healthy, diversified local economy that provides jobs, builds a sound tax base to support City services, and addresses our community’s housing needs.
  • Promoting public safety for our neighborhoods, parks and business districts.
  • Building partnerships and community engagement that enrich our quality of life including the areas of education, environment, arts and culture, and the social fabric of our community.


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