Andy Medellin was about 12 when his mother, Margaret, began her political career as a Madera City Council member. He hated it.
“Mom was gone a lot,” Medellin said. “She was on the phone a lot. She didn’t come home at 5 (p.m.) every day. She wasn’t around on the weekends.”
Medellin grew up. He married and had kids of his own. And in doing so, he learned to appreciate his mother’s 12 years on the council.
“I realized what her sacrifice was for this community,” Medellin said.
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He decided to make that same sacrifice, serving 12 years on the planning commission before being appointed to the City Council in 2011 after the unexpected death of Councilman Sam Armentrout. He won re-election to the council in 2012 and cruised unopposed to the mayor’s office in this year’s election.
First Latina mayor
During Margaret Medellin’s tenure, each council member served as mayor on a rotating yearly basis. She took her turn in April 1982 – and received a plaque from the state naming her the first Latina mayor in California, she said.
And 34 years later, she swore in her son Wednesday night before a packed City Council chambers. The city clerk typically handles this, but Margaret insisted.
“If you folks are hearing a boom, boom, boom,” Margaret Medellin said to the audience, “it’s nothing dangerous. It’s my heart.”
He’s one of four kids, and I am honored that one decided to go my way. I guess one of them was listening to me.
Margaret Medellin, former Madera mayor and mother of incoming Mayor Andy Medellin
After finishing the oath, Medellin teared up as she looked at the new mayor. Then she gave him a big hug.
Seated in his new chair, two spots to the right of his old one, Medellin dedicated his first term to his mother.
“I am proud to be known as Marge’s son,” he said.
The small-town intimacy of Madera’s city government doesn’t end there. The new mayor pro tem, Councilwoman Cecelia Foley Gallegos, and the Medellins were next-door neighbors at birth. Gallegos and Andy Medellin served together on the Madera High School student council.
In an interview this week, Margaret Medellin shared how proud she was to have a son following in her footsteps.
“He’s one of four kids, and I am honored that one decided to go my way,” she said. “I guess one of them was listening to me.”
A California first?
Medellin did some research, and she believes they are the first mother-son duo to serve as mayor of the same town in California.
Andy Medellin will be Madera’s second elected mayor, replacing outgoing Mayor Rob Poythress, who easily unseated Madera County Supervisor Rick Farinelli in June. Both Andy and Margaret agree that many of the problems faced by Madera’s government haven’t changed much in 34 years: housing, infrastructure, water, managing urban sprawl.
“He’s got a lot of good ideas and a passion for our city,” Margaret Medellin said of her son.
The new mayor has a clear vision for Madera’s future. His time on the planning commission has made him pro-growth, but he believes the city must expand its borders intelligently by maintaining enough infrastructure, water reserves and a mix of both affordable and high-end housing. He believes the new housing developments off Highway 41 in southern Madera County are an example of bad growth.
But most of all, Medellin is looking forward to his family’s next chapter of Madera community service. He’s spent his entire life in Madera, where he owns and operates his own business, Andy’s Sports and Design.
“I love knowing everyone in town,” Medellin said. “When I joined the planning commission, I caught the bug. I knew I really wanted to be a part of Madera’s growth but also the feel of this city for the next 20 years.”