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Tuesday November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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City of Santa CruzCandidate for City Council

Photo of Sandy Brown

Sandy Brown

Teacher/Council Member
14,465 votes (14.27%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • A Just and Equitable Covid-19 Recovery
  • Affordable Housing and Accountable Development
  • Environmental Justice and Protection



Profession:University Instructor, Council Member
Instructor, San Jose State University (2019–current)
Member, Santa Cruz City Council — Elected position (2016–current)
Instructor, University of San Franciso (2013–2016)
Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California Santa Cruz (2012–2013)
Human Resources and Marketing, Swanton Berry Farm (2003–2011)


University of California, Berkeley PhD, Geography (2012)
University of California, Santa Cruz BA, with Honors, Politics (1995)


I believe local government should reflect community values. For me, that means working on policies and programs aimed at maintaining and improving our parks and open spaces; increasing the number of affordable units to be built in new developments; protections for renters; living wage jobs; and critical supportive services for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. As we navigate the challenging road of dual public health and economic crises, our public servants must provide leadership in this critical turning point. Now is the time to meaningfully engage with the public about recovery and rebuilding.

My approach to public service is motivated by my lifelong commitment to advancing the goals of economic democracy, sustainability, and social justice. Growing up, my family struggled – we moved a lot and I was on my own by 15. When I landed in Santa Cruz at 17 I knew it would be my home.

At UCSC, many professors inspired me to think critically about social and environmental problems. They helped me understand that politics are everywhere, that we must vigorously work to achieve social change, and that this change only happens through collective action. I spent a decade as a community-labor organizer with the Community Action Board and Monterey Bay Central Labor Council. While at UC Berkeley pursuing my doctorate in Geography, my research on farm labor took me from California’s strawberry fields to cooperative banana farms and plantations in Ecuador, Columbia, and Peru.

Grad school gave me a chance to read, write, and think deeply about justice and sustainability while keeping my feet firmly planted on the ground at Swanton Berry Farm, the first unionized, organic strawberry farm in the country. I’ve taught Geography, Public Affairs, and now American Studies at San Jose State University, always with the intention to inspire students to ask critical questions and to work for social and environmental justice wherever they go in the world.

I’ve been fortunate to call Santa Cruz my home for the past 30 years and experience the compassion, collaboration, and natural beauty this place holds. That being said, I’ve also become keenly aware that business as usual is not working for the majority of people in our town. Housing is unaffordable for most, local wages remain low, and many people are struggling under the weight of all the crises we are living through. Trickle down approaches to economic recovery will not get us back on track, much less address the big challenges we already face. We need to invest in efforts to stabilize our economy and community, and support those who are most in need.

My 2016 campaign motto was “Santa Cruz for All of Us”. It is in this spirit that I ask for your vote this year.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Monterey Bay Central Labor Council
  • Sierra Club
  • Mayor Justin Cummings

Organizations (6)

  • Service Employees International Union - Local 521
  • Monterey Santa Cruz Building and Construction Trades Council
  • People's Democratic Club
  • Santa Cruz for Bernie
  • Our Revolution
  • Campaign for Sustainable Transportation

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