Democrat Regina Romero was elected mayor of Tucson, Arizona, on Tuesday, becoming the first Latina and the first woman to hold the city’s highest office.
Romero is only the second Mexican-American to be elected mayor of Tucson since the 1854 Gadsden Purchase when the U.S. acquired southern Arizona — an area that included Tucson — from Mexico, according to The Arizona Daily Star. Romero, who will take office next month, will also be the only Latina mayor in the 50 largest cities in the country, the newspaper noted.
Romero, who previously served as the first Latina in the Tucson City Council, clinched nearly 56% of the vote, according to unofficial results. She bested opponents Ed Ackerley, an independent who garnered 40% of the vote, and Green Party candidate Mike Cease, who got 4%. The Daily Star and the Arizona Republic both called the race in Romero’s favor.
Latino Victory, a political action committee aimed at increasing Latino representation, hailed Romero’s “historic” win.
“Councilwoman Regina Romero shattered one glass ceiling when she became the first Latina elected to the Tucson City Council, and now she’s broken yet another one by becoming Tucson’s first woman and first Latina mayor,” the group’s executive director Mayra Macías said in a statement.
“Her groundbreaking election is a testament of who she is as a leader and all the incredible things she’ll accomplish for the people of Tucson as their new mayor,” Macías continued.
Democratic presidential hopefuls Julián Casto and Elizabeth Warren also hailed Romero’s victory.
“We need more Latinas to run, and win!” Castro wrote on Twitter.
“Regina is a champion for our environment and working families — and I’m looking forward to the big, structural change she’ll bring to her community,” Warren said.
Romero, who served three terms on the Tucson City Council, ran on an ambitious platform focused on battling climate change, improving the city’s infrastructure and education system, as well as expanding opportunities for refugee and immigrant communities.
On the issue of immigration, Tucson residents overwhelmingly voted against a ballot initiative on Tuesday that would have made Tucson the only sanctuary city in Arizona, according to preliminary results. Romero had previously expressed support for the sentiment of the initiative ― known as Proposition 205 ― but said in April that the measure could leave Tucson in a vulnerable position financially.
She said on Tuesday that she would engage with advocates of the measure to work toward defeating the state’s anti-immigration law, SB1070, which aims to identify, prosecute and deport undocumented immigrants.
In other historic elections on Tuesday, Julia Mejia won a seat on the Boston City Council, according to preliminary results. Mejia will be the first Afro-Latina on the legislative body.
“I am humbled,” she wrote on Twitter of her apparent win.
MassLive.com said Tuesday’s election marked the first time in Boston’s history that minority and female candidates formed the majority of the City Council. Seven of the 13 councilors will be people of color; and eight will be women, WBUR-TV reported.
Tuesday was also a big day for Muslim women candidates. Democrat Ghazala Hashmi became the first Muslim to be elected to Virginia’s Senate, and Abrar Omeish clinched an at-large seat on the Fairfax County School Board, becoming one of the first Muslim women to hold elected office in Virginia.
In Maine, Safiya Khalid became the first Somali-American to be elected to the Lewiston City Council. And in Minnesota, Nadia Mohamed became the first Muslim and Somali-American to be elected to the St. Louis Park City Council.