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Paloma Aguirre is a first-generation Mexican American. She was born in San Francisco, CA and lived there until she was eight years old. Her family then moved to Mexico where she spent the rest of her formative years.
In 2001, she moved back to the U.S. in pursuit of a college degree and competitive bodyboarding. Upon arrival, she first surfed Imperial Beach and immediately fell in love with its people and its waves. Mayor Aguirre went on to compete in bodyboarding competitions, both locally and regionally. On occasion, she found herself competing in the men’s category where she is known to have won a trophy or two.
After putting herself through college, she graduated from the University of San Diego (USD) with a B.A. in Psychology. She later earned a certificate in Nonprofit Management from Brandman University and obtained a Master of Advanced Studies in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation, from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in 2015.
Early in her career, Mayor Aguirre worked as a social-justice community organizer in South San Diego, helping low-income families address immigration, foreclosure, and predatory lending issues. Later, she joined WILDCOAST, a formerly Imperial Beach-based coastal and marine conservation non-profit where she worked for over 10 years. Aguirre’s primary focus was fighting cross-border pollution of the Tijuana River Valley that directly impacts the coastal region of the San Diego-Tijuana border region, including Imperial Beach. Her bilingual and bicultural lived experience allows her to be a leading advocate in the fight against sewage pollution.
In 2014, Aguirre was named Woman of the Year for her outstanding leadership in environmental conservation and for her work restoring the Tijuana River Valley. In 2016, she was selected for the prestigious NOAA Sea Grant Knauss fellowship in Washington D.C. where she worked for U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ). Aguirre assisted him in drafting and passing bills to reduce trash in our oceans and improve math and science skills in minorities. In 2018, she was elected as the City’s first Latina Councilmember for the City of Imperial Beach. In 2022, Aguirre was named Leader of the Year by the San Diego Democratic Party.
Mayor Aguirre represents the City of Imperial Beach on the San Diego Community Power Board of Directors, and as alternate on the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) Board. She also serves as Speaker Anthony Rendon’s San Diego Coast appointee on the California Coastal Commission, and as Governor Newsom’s appointee to the Good Neighbor Environmental Board, an independent federal advisory committee, which advises the President and Congress of the United States on good neighbor practices along the U.S. border with Mexico.
In her spare time, Mayor Aguirre enjoys bodyboarding and spending time with her husband and two dogs Dante and Dasha.
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