23 to watch in 2023: Rosa Reynoza, Windsor mayor

Rosa Reynoza, Windsor’s first Latina to win the town’s mayoral seat, has built her support from the ground up through personal contact with her constituents.|

For more people to watch in 2023, go here.

Name: Rosa Reynoza

Title or position: Windsor mayor

On the job since: Elected to Windsor Town Council in 2021

Age: 50

Hometown: Fortuna and Windsor (grew up in Fortuna, then Windsor)

Why is Reynoza someone to watch:

She made a comeback after losing three times, since 2016, in her previous bids to win a seat on Windsor’s Town Council. In 2021, she won election during a time of turmoil. Accusations of sexual assault and misconduct surfaced against then-Mayor Dominic Foppoli, who denied any wrongdoing and eventually resigned. Reynoza eventually served as vice mayor for a year and then as a council member. On Nov. 8, she was elected mayor by 23% over a formidable opponent, current-Vice Mayor Esther Lemus. Reynoza is the first Latina to be elected mayor in Windsor. She has built her support from the ground up through personal contact with constituents. (Editor’s note: Reynoza cracked the 22 to Watch in 2022 list, as well.)

What others are saying about her:

“I am not surprised (Reynoza was chosen for 23 to Watch in 2023), because if you haven’t been watching her since before 2023 you should have been. … We are lucky to have her in a leadership role at this time, but to be honest, she has been a leader in this community for a long time, and I’m thrilled to work with her,” said Windsor Council member Mike Wall, who was reelected along with Reynoza, Sam Salmon and newcomer Tanya Potter on Nov. 8. They were all to be seated at the town’s Dec. 7 council meeting.

What Reynoza says about 2023:

“I’m definitely flattered and humbled that someone thought of me. It’s nice to be recognized.”

Being Windsor’s first Latina mayor to be elected “is a pretty cool thing, but it was never a goal. I was never targeting the Latinos in the community. Everyone is struggling. Being involved in a lot of nonprofits (Latinos Unidos, the Windsor Service Alliance, St. Vincent de Paul as well as the Sonoma County Area Agency on Aging), I see we’re getting so many people from different backgrounds moving to Windsor. Being able to communicate with people in their native language (Spanish) is a plus.

“My vision for 2023 is having a community, a town … that has a representative who is really just a people person. (The Town Council) will have a Strategic Planning meeting to make our priorities for the budget. I really want to dive in and work with our town manager and make sure we apply for as many federal grants as we can. I want to look at sidewalk installments at Condi Lane where there’s a large mobile home community and on Shiloh (Road) where there is a low-income apartment complex going in.”

Kathleen Coates

Windsor and Cloverdale, The Press Democrat 

As someone who grew up in a small town, I enjoy covering what's happening in Windsor and Cloverdale, which are growing in their own unique ways.  I delve into issues by getting to know people and finding out what’s going on in the community. I also pay attention to animal welfare and other issues that affect Sonoma County.

For more people to watch in 2023, go here.

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