By Katia Lopez-Hodoyan
It was a day just like any other when Jill Galvez started thinking about running for office. She was socializing with a group of friends when she suddenly felt distraught.
Several parents from her son’s elementary school were facing economic troubles. Sending their children to camp wasn’t an option anymore. Money was tight and there was no remedy in sight.
“Their businesses were hanging by their finger nails. It was so sad,” recalls Galvez “Rising sale taxes in Chula Vista was a huge issue for them.”
And so began her political journey. She’s now one of four candidates hoping to take on “Seat 2” (currently held by councilman John McCann). The other candidates are Patricia Aguilar, Larry Breitfelder and Humberto Peraza.
As a wife, mother and businesswoman, Galvez’ days are always busy. With a 15 year- old daughter who attends Hilltop High School and a 13 year old son at Hilltop Middle, there’s little time to spare. “With this schedule my husband has learned to cook a dinner or two,” she laughs.
The 42 year- old candidate has lived in Chula Vista for the last 18 years. In 1992 she moved from Michigan when her future mother in law (a Southbay resident at the time) was diagnosed with cancer. Her fiancée, Victor Galvez, was also living in Michigan. He wanted to be near his ailing mother and asked Jill to go with him. Chula Vista eventually felt like home. Now she says, it’s time to give back. Her campaign is focused on promoting job growth by making the city more appealing to entrepreneurs. Another focal point is not raising taxes.
“Chula Vista has so much potential,” says Galvez. “There are so many ways we can improve the city.”
It’s no secret Chula Vista is facing serious financial problems. Amid the country’s recession, the city took a particularly hard hit with the real estate crisis. Thousands of foreclosures in the eastern part of the city kept adding to the city’s financial woes.
As Chula Vista scrambles to avoid additional cutbacks, Galvez says she has a plan to bring high paying jobs to the city and improve its budget.
“We need to recruit successful companies to move their headquarters to Chula Vista,” says Galvez. “I don’t understand why past city councils haven’t done that. Having to drive to San Diego or beyond to get to your job doesn’t make any sense. It takes away from our quality of life.”
In 2002, Galvez ran for Chula Vista’s Elementary School District Board of Education. She ran again in 2004.
As far as her bid for city council, she believes one of her biggest assets is being a political outsider.
“Politics shouldn’t be a career,” says Galvez. “One should get in, improve the community and then leave. When politics is made into a career, it’s easy to focus on special interests to just keep yourself employed.”
Her professional experience comes from working at AT&T, IBM and currently as Vice President of FastBlue, a telecommunications service company.
“No matter what job I’ve had, I’ve always seen results.” In the private sector you can’t survive without results. I’ve hired people, fired people-you name it. I’m good at generating revenue.”
Back in 2008, Chula Vista was hoping to close a deal with development powerhouse “Gaylord Entertainment.” The company was negotiating the construction of a 32- acre resort along the city’s waterfront; a move that would have produced jobs, tourism and much needed money to the Southbay. The deal fell through when demands from local unions discouraged investors. Galvez believes Chula Vista can still make a deal with Gaylord.
“We’re talking about a company that has developments in major cities across the country,” says the candidate. “But it still doesn’t have a presence in California. It needs that presence. Chula Vista is a perfect fit. The truth is there’s just some bureaucratic tape Gaylord has to get through.
Another focus for Galvez is the city’s prospect to build a 4 -year university.
“We need to start building relationships to bring private and public partnerships to our future university. We shouldn’t wait on this.”
When asked whether the candidate has enough patience to deal with the challenging aspects of local politics. She responds with a strong laugh.
“I do have a lot of patience,” she says. “But most importantly I really just want to make positive change.”
To learn more about Galvez and her bid for Chula Vista’s City council, visit www.jillgalvez.com