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Newly Elected Shirley Gonzales' Two New Big Jobs: Councilwoman and Mom

Ryan Loyd
Texas Public Radio

The good news hasn’t stopped for newly-elected District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales.

During her runoff election night watch party at her west side campaign headquarters, Gonzales announced she is expecting a baby. By the end of the night, she’d won the election against her opponent, incumbent David Medina. The events mean two big jobs are ahead for Gonzales, who in her free time is also an Ironman competitor.

"I know that I will need a lot of help and a lot of support, and that's why I'm looking forward to working with so many people in our community,” she said after the blessing of the council at San Fernando Cathedral.

City Clerk Leticia Vacek cannot recall a time when another sitting council member was pregnant, but she said the circumstance is similar to council members requesting a leave of absence, which has happened before.

“It's a unique circumstance, but it's a good unique circumstance,” said Vacek, referring to Gonzales' pregnancy.

Former District 4 Councilman Philip Cortez took a leave of absence during his term to serve in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. He served on the San Antonio City Council from 2007 to 2011. District 9 Councilwoman Elisa Chan took a leave of absence in 2010 for medical reasons. Although Mayor Julian Castro did not take a leave, his daughter, Carina, was born the same year he was elected – 2009. He stepped into office in June. The council’s regular summer recess is in July. Staffers say that lent the mayor time to spend with his family.

Gonzales’ due date may prove beneficial for her, too. The council takes a break for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, and that’s around the time she is due.

Gonzales said she didn’t want the news of a baby during the campaign to interfere with her role as a potential council member.

"I was able to keep it under wraps for the majority of the campaign, since obviously it's a sensitive subject, and I'm 41 years old, and this is the first time for me,” she said.

With two new big jobs, she hopes she’ll get plenty of help. Vacek says Gonzales will attempt to serve as much as she can without missing any, or very few, meetings.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.