Eric Guerra, who rose from a childhood of working on a Central Valley farm to serving as a key staff aide in the state Capitol, won a seat on the Sacramento City Council in a special election on Tuesday.
In early returns, Guerra led health policy adviser Bruce Pomer 62 percent to 38 percent in the race for District 6. Pomer conceded the race to Guerra in an interview with The Sacramento Bee.
“I think Eric will be a very good councilman,” Pomer said. “He’s very intelligent and has a great story. I think he’ll be good for the city.”
The seat was left vacant in November when former Councilman Kevin McCarty was elected to the state Assembly. McCarty had represented the area since 2004.
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District 6 represents a swath of neighborhoods on the city’s southeastern edge, including Elmhurst, Tahoe Park and Sierra Oaks. The last three council members to represent the area have gone on to hold higher office in the state Capitol.
The candidates in this election provided starkly different backgrounds.
Guerra, 36, is a Sacramento County planning commissioner and former head of the Tahoe Park Neighborhood Association. He has been a Capitol staffer for more than a decade, serving as chief of staff to two Assembly members.
His childhood story earned him respect and attention from his followers, including Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna. Guerra worked long days on Central Valley farms as a young boy, picking figs and peaches alongside his mother. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Sacramento State and is president-elect of the university’s alumni association.
While roughly 27 percent of Sacramento’s population is Hispanic, Guerra will be the first Latino member of the City Council in more than 15 years.
Pomer is 65 and spent 30 years with the Health Officers Association of California, including 20 years as the head of the organization. He also held a seat on the Los Rios Community College District board for 20 years and helped launch the neighborhood association in Sierra Oaks with his wife of 43 years, Anne.
Pomer had also run for City Council twice before, losing both times. He was backed in this year’s attempt by McCarty and former Sacramento Mayors Heather Fargo and Anne Rudin.
Call The Bee’s Ryan Lillis, (916) 321-1085. Read his City Beat blog at www.sacbee.com/citybeat.