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Hi, I'm Sonja

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Sonja Brunner has been a dedicated resident of Santa Cruz for over 30 years. Her long standing and continued participation and leadership, including her work with the Downtown Association of Santa Cruz and the Housing Authority of Santa Cruz, uniquely qualifies her to provide successful leadership on the  Santa Cruz City Council.


Sonja Brunner is a Cabrillo College graduate in Liberal Studies; a bilingual, multicultural community organizer; a tireless advocate for the local small business community and most important, a proud single working mother who raised her daughter in our wonderful community. Sonja was first elected with the most votes to the Santa Cruz City Council in 2020, served as Vice Mayor in 2021, and Mayor in 2022.


Sonja's attention and focus has always been on supporting local people, local businesses, and local programs. ​Throughout her time in Santa Cruz, Sonja has also invested back in a wide variety of tangible ways, including housing, the arts, tourism and our local economy. She has developed relationships and established connections within the community, and consequently has a large and diverse coalition of support which is a direct reflection of her life philosophy: a vision of caring, compassion and connection.


Sonja Brunner is passionate about keeping Santa Cruz a strong and healthy community, especially in the face of global change and evolution. Our leaders need to be positive and motivated to get things done for our community. The community needs her breadth of experience, work ethic, enthusiasm, values and understanding right now. Sonja is that type of leader! 


Sonja’s resume of work and engagement in Santa Cruz all demonstrate her dedication to keeping Santa Cruz a thriving and safe community. Sonja is the caring and honest voice that will hear diverse opinions, make difficult decisions, and understands that for anything to be accomplished, it will take everyone's voice being heard, not just a few.

Sonja has been a resident of District 2 since 2015 and has been supporting the district in many specific and impactful ways, including:

  • Traffic calming measures, safe routes to school

  • The Branciforte Library reopening

  • Arana Gulch fire mitigation measures

  • COVID-19 resources for residents, and small businesses along Seabright Ave. and Soquel Ave. 

  • Working with METRO for new larger garbage cans and bus stops along Soquel Ave.

  • Downtown Streets Team Midtown litter team

  • Parking Lot 32 activation and community economic vitality investments

"Vice Mayor Sonja Brunner spoke at the last Midtown Fridays on October 29th to show her support to all the bands, vendors, local Midtown businesses, and organizers of the event for making the event series so special. The original purpose of the event was to bring people to Midtown to enjoy all the vibrancy that it has to offer and we think we did just that. Matthew Swinnerton from Event Santa Cruz also presented Neil Pearlberg from Off the Lip Radio Show an award for bringing the music every week at Midtown Fridays but more importantly keeping live and "alive" Santa Cruz music by streaming 245 live shows 2020-2021 during the pandemic." - Nov. 4, 2021 Event Santa Cruz

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"Sonja and I worked together 9 years on the Cruzin’ Courses Committee. She was instrumental in promoting the Downtown corridor and shining a light on retail, restaurants, the arts, and nonprofits. Sonja is strategic, thoughtful, concerned, hardworking, resourceful, and never stopped working on behalf of Santa Cruz even when she was learning to live and walk again after her horrific car crash.  I will walk the plank for her."

- Cathy Brown Bañuelos, Community Member

Organizational Affiliations & Service

(current and past)

  • Mayor, City of Santa Cruz, 2022

  • Vice Mayor, City of Santa Cruz, 2021

City Council Committees:

  • Health in All Policies Committee

  • Public Safety Committee

  • Outdoor Dining Subcommittee

External Governmental Agencies/Intergovernmental Coordinating Committees:

  • Library Financing Authority 

  • Central Coast Community Energy Policy Board (Alternate)

External Community Organizations:

  • Area Agency on Aging (AAA) Advisory Council (Alternate)

  • Criminal Justice Council

  • Visit Santa Cruz County

  • Housing Authority of Santa Cruz County, Commissioner and Board Chair 

  • Santa Cruz Regional 911 Dispatch Center, Citizen Academy participant

  • Santa Cruz Chamber Women in Business, Steering Committee member

  • City of Santa Cruz Arts Master Plan, Steering Committee member

  • City of Santa Cruz Downtown Improvement Task Force, member

  • Downtown Association of Santa Cruz, Board member and President

  • Santa Cruz Police, Citizen Academy participant

  • Visit Santa Cruz County, Board member

  • Cruzin' Courses, Committee member

  • Committee Chair, Boy Scout Troop 604

  • Cubmaster, Cub Scout Pack 608

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