Who is Blanca Alvarado?

Here’s a quick lesson on a prominent figure in San Jose, CA’s political history.

Councilmembers Domingo Candelas, Omar Torres, and Peter Ortiz pose with former Santa Clara County Supervisor Blanca Alvarado.

Councilmembers Domingo Candelas, Omar Torres, and Peter Ortiz pay Blanca Alvarado a visit.

Last week, Councilmembers Domingo Candelas, Omar Torres, and Peter Ortiz paid a visit to one very important San Josean.

Blanca Alvarado, also known as “La Madrina” to East Side residents, is a longtime community activist, former city council member + city commissioner — and San Jose’s first Latina vice mayor.

After being elected to city council in 1980, Alvarado represented the East Side for 14 years, while also serving as vice mayor for two terms. She then went on to fill the seat left vacant by Zoe Lofgren on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors in 1996, becoming the first Latina chairperson. 🏛️

Outside of the boardroom, she championed the founding of the Mexican Heritage Plaza. She also worked to change the name of San Jose’s Plaza Park to Plaza de Cesar E. Chavez; she previously partnered with the civil rights activist to create the Community Services Organization. 🤝

As well as advocating for communities of color, she chaired for the Valley Transportation Authority, was active in preserving + securing funding for green spaces, and most recently, launched the environmental justice campaign to close Reid-Hillview Airport in 2018.

At 90 years old, Alvarado continues to be a prominent voice for the San Jose community, and of course, shares her wisdom with the council newcomers.