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Oscar Gutierrez Sworn in as 7th Santa Barbara City Councilmember

The 34-year-old Westside resident won the June 5 special election to fill a vacancy

man raising hand to take oath of office Click to view larger
Westside resident Oscar Gutierrez, 34, takes the oath of office for the Santa Barbara City Council Tuesday afternoon. He was elected as a councilman in the June 5 election.  (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

And then there were seven.

Eight months after Cathy Murillo was elected mayor and vacated her Westside seat, the Santa Barbara City Council has a new member and a full roster. 

Oscar Gutierrez was sworn in on Tuesday, a month after he was elected to office to fill the seat.

Gutierrez fought back tears during his acceptance speech, seemingly overwhelmed by the realness of it all.

“My father passed away before he could see the man that I have become,” Gutierrez said, “but I hope he is proud of me because I am proud to be his son.”

Gutierrez was elected June 5, besting Michael Vidal, Kathleen Hunter and Ken Rivas.

He was the second person elected on the Westside’s District 3 since the city moved to District Elections in 2015.

Gutierrez thanked his parents, who he described as “immigrants who came to this country for a better life for themselves and for their children.”

He said he learned the value of “hard work and not giving up” from them.

“My parents also taught me the value of community and we all have to help each other,” Gutierrez said.

He thanked a friend named Dennis Trujillo, who died while serving in the U.S. Army. He said the sacrifice was a wake-up call to give more service to the community.

“I am honored to represent the Westside,” Gutierrez said. “Although I was elected from a district, I know the job is to look out for the residents of the entire city because we are all interconnected.”

He said as a councilman, he will advocate for working families, tenant rights and to make neighborhoods safer.

“I promise I will listen to all sides,” Gutierrez said. “We may not always agree, but I promise to respect your opinions, always tell the truth and treat you with civility.”

Councilman Gregg Hart offered kind words to the 34-year-old.

“I grew up on the Westside and I know you will do a fabulous job representing the community,” Hart said.

Councilwoman Kristen Sneddon said she was “very excited to have the seat filled.”

She added, “I really appreciate the voice you will bring. We’ve missed you these six months.”

Councilman Eric Friedman acknowledged Gutierrez’s hard work during the campaign.

“We all see you will be an outstanding representative for the Westside,” Friedman said. “It’s great to have the next generation up here.”

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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