Cathy Murillo served as Santa Barbara’s Mayor from 2018 to 2021, and is the first Latina ever elected to the Santa Barbara City Council. Under her leadership, Santa Barbara opened a new Children’s Library, launched a Community Choice Energy program, secured funding and site for a new police station, updated the city’s Bicycle Master Plan, revitalized the Westside’s neighborhood association, passed a Just Cause Eviction ordinance and other tenants’ protections, established a Project Labor Agreement policy for city public works projects, focused resources on Downtown economic vitality, initiated development of the Mackenzie Park Off-Leash Dog Area, and formed the City’s COVID-19 Business Advisory Task Force to help businesses recover from the pandemic economy.
Working with community members, Murillo created the Pro-Youth Movement in response to a gang injunction proposed by the City of Santa Barbara and to find solutions to street violence; throughout her 10 years of public service, which began January 2012, Murillo convened regular informal meetings of youth service providers to empower gang-risk families and youth. As Mayor, she served as Chair of the South Coast Youth Safety (Anti-Gang) Partnership, and won the Wendy Davee Peace Builder Award from Pacifica Graduate Institute for mentorship of disadvantaged youth, creating internships at City Hall, and expanding funding for youth employment and leadership programs.
Before being elected to the Santa Barbara City Council, Cathy Murillo was a multi-media news professional. She worked as News and Public Affairs Director for KCSB Radio, teaching broadcast journalism to college students on the UCSB campus, and produced a public access TV show focusing on government and politics. Before that, she was news editor for the Santa Barbara Independent, and news writer for the Los Angeles Times, Ventura County Edition, and the Ventura County Star. She has also worked in the legal profession, and taught theater arts in public schools as an artist-in-the-classroom for the Children’s Creative Project. Murillo has a B.A. in Dramatic Art from UCSB, and is a classically trained stage actor.