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Mayor Ortiz, was elected by her peers to serve as Mayor at the March 1, 2016 meeting.
She was elected to serve on Huntington Park’s City Council March 2015 and served as Vice Mayor for the 2015-2016 term. She currently is a member of the League of California Cities and the Southern California Association of Governments.
Graciela Ortiz was born and raised in Huntington Park as the youngest of four siblings. Her father died when she was only six months old, so her mother raised her and her siblings on her own. From a young age, Graciela took her education seriously. She began her educational career at Miles Avenue Elementary, proceeded to Gage Middle School, and graduated from Huntington Park High School in 1999 with high academic honors.
Immediately after graduating from high school, Ms. Ortiz attended her dream college, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). One of her greatest accomplishments at UCLA was establishing a chapter of Hermanas Unidas, which focuses on retention of Latinas at the university in order to ensure graduation. Being a founding mother of Hermanas Unidas allowed Graciela to learn outstanding leadership skills that have proved useful throughout her career. Upon graduating from UCLA, she decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW), which she earned from California State University, Long Beach in 2006.
Mayor Ortiz always knew that her passion was in helping children and being their advocate. So, she became a Pupil Services and Attendance Counselor upon receiving her master’s degree. She served as a PSA Counselor at Banning High School, Peary Middle School, and then as a Lead District Counselor, and is now working in her Huntington Park community at Linda Esperanza Marquez High School. Although she focuses on students that have attendance problems, she works with all students, helping families break down the barriers that are impeding their children from being successful. She advocates and provides resources to students on juvenile probation, in foster care, and for those who are homeless. Her experience helping the children of Huntington Park allows her to see issues from various perspectives and from a holistic point of view that now helps her problem solve and understand community issues as a Councilmember.
As a Council Member, Graciela strives to build teams and coalitions to make Huntington Park a stronger community; provide residents with an improved quality of life; and make certain every generation has a voice in their City.
When she is not working or serving on Council, Mayor Ortiz enjoys playing co-ed softball with the Huntington Park Rec League, seeing movies, attending Dodger games, and spending time with family and friends.