Tucson Mayor-Elect Regina Romero Was Raised in Somerton’s La Mesa Neighborhood

Nov 5, 2019

UPDATED 8:08 p.m. NOV. 5

Democrat Regina Romero, who was raised in Somerton, will become the first Latina mayor in Tucson's history, based on preliminary results.

Romero, a graduate of Kofa High School in Yuma, had 56 percent of the vote Tuesday, according to results posted by Tucson city election officials.

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If you follow Arizona politics, you’ve probably heard the name Regina Romero. She’s predicted to be elected as the first Latina mayor in Tucson’s history.

Though she’s lived in Tucson since college, Romero grew up in La Mesa, a neighborhood of farmworker families near where the Cocopah Resort and Casino sits in Somerton today. 

It's the same neighborhood where Somerton Mayor Jerry Anaya and other city leaders- educators, lawyers and elected officials- were raised.

“Our families, our parents all knew each other because they worked in the fields," Romero told KAWC. "Somerton and La Mesa is a farmworking community… I remember working in the fields helping my parents… It was a very tight knit community."

"My dad always said…you have to be proud of who you are and where you came from to know where you’re going," she continued. "For me, Somerton, La Mesa, San Luis, Yuma will always be present in me because it shaped who I am… It gave me the impetus and the curiousity and the work ethic to accomplish what I have…because of my experience growing up in La Mesa and Somerton and Yuma.” 

NBC News reported the only previous Latino mayor in Tucson was Estevan Ochoa in 1875. The Mexican-American businessman was elected mayor when Arizona was still a territory.

Romero has served on the Tucson council since 2007. She is also the director of Latino engagement at the Tucson-based Center of Biological Diversity, an environmental and wildlife conservation organization.

In the Democratic primary, Romero defeated Steve Farley and Randi Dorman. In the general election, she faces indpendent candidate Edward Ackerley and Green Party candidate Mike Cease.

Tucson voters will decide also Tuesday whether the city will label itself a sanctuary city, the first in the state.