Meet Lauren Cazares, running for City Council in La Mesa, California
Throughout her life in La Mesa, Lauren has been a Girl Scout, a high school golf team captain, and even student body president. Her family calls La Mesa home and her parents are business owners in this community. Lauren is a champion for LBGTQ+ rights at her alma mater and an ever-present positive force in her community. It’s easy to see that every chapter of her life is intertwined with the city that she loves.
Lauren’s story begins with a childhood deeply intertwined with the fabric of La Mesa. She is a proud theater kid who spent her youth performing in local community plays at Peter Pan Jr. Theatre and C Hook Theater. Lauren mentioned that she even got to work alongside the theater director and Mayor, Mark Arapostathis (Dr. A). Lauren regards Dr. A as the most beloved man in La Mesa and one of her life mentors. Growing up, she watched her own parents work hard to grow a successful business from nothing and create a life in La Mesa. Lauren emphasizes just how much her city and the people around her have given her throughout her life, and she is ready to give back and to run for city council to represent marginalized communities, young voices, and the LGBTQ+ community in La Mesa.
As two seats in the city council will open up in 2024, Lauren sees the opportunity to bring the voices of the younger generations into the decision-making process. Lauren acknowledges the pivotal role of her mentor, Colin Parent, in helping her prepare to take this leap. Lauren says that Colin is an incredible mentor and friend committed to building and protecting affordable housing and transit. Colin has shown her the ropes of passing equitable, progressive policy in her unique city. Lauren’s involvement as his campaign manager in 2020 set the stage, and when the opportunity arose for 2024, Lauren knew it was her time to run for City Council. Yet, this decision was not made lightly. She resolved to run only when she was convinced of her qualifications and confident in her ability to win.
What distinguishes Lauren is her deep-seated commitment to diversity and inclusivity. She recognizes the importance of injecting fresh voices into local governance, particularly in a city as diverse as La Mesa. As a Gen-Z candidate, she epitomizes the next generation of leaders, primed to grapple with pressing issues like affordable housing, clean energy, and public safety. Her goal is to be a part of the change that brings new perspectives into La Mesa City Council and makes her community better for all people who call La Mesa home.
Lauren currently plays a pivotal role on the Community Police Oversight Board for the City of La Mesa. This underscores her commitment to reforming public safety, including addressing sensitive concerns such as unsecured firearms in homes. These aren’t political talking points for her; they are deeply personal convictions. Lauren is also the founder of the LGBTQIA+ Alumni and Allies Coalition at Point Loma Nazarene University. With a deep personal connection to this topic, Lauren passionately advocates for LGBTQ+ rights on campus, bridging the gap between faith and identity and revealing the deeply personal connection that guides her. Lauren describes faith as one of the most important pieces of her life that has helped her through dark times and she is extremely proud to belong to an inclusive and welcoming church community.
Lauren’s vision for La Mesa is for it to be a city where the American Dream thrives. After seeing her parents establish themselves in their community through hard work, Lauren knows just how important it is for families to be able to build something meaningful and lasting that serves their families and neighbors. She wants this opportunity to be available for everyone in her community, regardless of where they come from. She envisions a city where every resident, regardless of background, has a voice. Her dream encompasses nurturing a city where city employees and small businesses thrive, offering competitive wages and benefits.
In La Mesa, historically marginalized communities have found a welcoming home, and young families are increasingly choosing to put down roots. Lauren’s vision for La Mesa extends to championing local events like La Mesa Juneteenth and Oktoberfest while reinvigorating downtown areas to make them more accessible and appealing.
Lauren has two dogs named Lucy and Leona, aged 16 and 14. One of them is a West Highland White Terrier and the other a Poodle/Shih Tzu. They live at her parents home, and enjoy running and playing in their backyard which is just a few blocks away from where Lauren lives.
Lauren’s authenticity and dedication to her community forge a genuine connection that resonates deeply with all of us. Her quest for positive change, steadfast commitment to promoting diversity, and unwavering aspiration for a brighter future are evident in every word and action. As La Mesa prepares itself for upcoming elections, Lauren’s candidacy offers hope and a heartfelt promise of a more inclusive and vibrant tomorrow for all who call this city home.