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Meet Erica A. Stewart, Mayor of San Luis Obispo, California

Erica is a mother, an entrepreneur, a Cal Poly SLO Alumni, and Mayor, who has long been devoted to making San Luis Obispo a better home.

Erica’s journey to becoming a community leader in the heart of SLO began many years ago. Through her own experiences as the owner of a wholesale bakery, Erica realized just how much the decisions made by the city council had a direct impact on the lives of its residents. She saw the importance of leaders that truly represent the people they serve. Because of this experience, and as a working mother, she keenly understands the challenges faced by her community members. She seeks to bridge the gap between policy decisions and how they really affect people.

A pivotal moment in Erica’s path to public service came during the turbulent political landscape of 2016. Just like many of us, she witnessed the rising negativity and polarization in both national and local politics and felt a compelling need to create change. Erica aimed to restore civility and cooperation in government, all while highlighting the need for representation of women and marginalized communities in leadership roles.

Before becoming mayor in 2021, Erica had already established herself as a dedicated community servant. She had served on the city council since her election in 2018 and went on to earn the trust and respect of her constituents. Her path to leadership was paved with genuine community involvement—she actively participated in her children’s school activities, held roles in booster and PTA organizations, and dedicated her time to her church’s homeless meal program.

Erica’s connection to her city extended beyond her neighborhood. She contributed to the alumni association board of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, a testament to her commitment to education and her enduring ties to her alma mater. Her background in human resources, complemented by her role as the president of the local Human Resources Association and her PHR certification, has equipped her with invaluable insights into the needs of her community.

In her role as Mayor of San Luis Obispo, Erica plays a vital part in shaping the city’s future. Operating within the framework of a strong city manager model, she presides over council meetings, represents the council at various functions, and ensures that the council’s decisions translate into real actions for the betterment of the community. Erica’s aspiration to infuse professionalism and fresh perspectives into local governance was born from her belief that government should serve its citizens effectively and empathetically.

San Luis Obispo faces its own pressing issues, and Erica is passionately committed to addressing them. Housing and homelessness rank prominently, with her dedication extending beyond mere housing solutions to encompass vital support services for those in need. Climate change and sustainability are also rising concerns. Erica places a strong emphasis on her community’s need for accessible transportation, expansive green spaces, and equitable access to environmentally friendly initiatives. Erica steadfastly believes that inclusive policies should extend to every resident, regardless of their economic standing.

To Erica, success in these endeavors would mean a San Luis Obispo where housing is readily available close to employment opportunities, support services are easily accessible, and a robust public transportation system facilitates everyday life. It would be a city where climate-conscious initiatives benefit everyone, and childcare is an accessible option for working families. San Luis Obispo’s proximity to esteemed educational institutions like Cal Poly University, Cuesta College, and Hancock College provides them with a rich pool of resources and ideas waiting to be tapped into. Erica sees this as a unique opportunity to create a better future for San Luis Obispo.

When she’s not working to make SLO a better place, Erica is a genuine animal lover, sharing her home with two cats named Bubbles and Cheerio. She also lives with her fabulous husband, their cats and their youngest son who is 19. Her oldest son lives in San Diego and is kicking off his young professional career as a real estate agent. Erica is also a lover of pandas and fresh-baked cookies! Through her previous work as a chef and a bakery owner, she once had the opportunity to cater a wedding at the iconic landmark—Hearst Castle!

Erica brings a remarkable blend of community-driven passion, professionalism, and an unwavering commitment to inclusivity to the role of Mayor in San Luis Obispo. She believes that the city she loves is poised for innovation, sustainability, and a brighter future that resonates with every resident’s heart.

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