Abel Pineda, 26, appointed as San Pablo council member

Abel Pineda, 26, appointed as San Pablo council member
San Pablo Councilmember Abel Pineda (Photo courtesy of the City of San Pablo)

A highly-active 26-year-old San Pablo native is now a council member in his city.

At its meeting on Monday, the San Pablo City Council appointed Abel Pineda, a Richmond High graduate, to fill the vacancy left by Cecilia Valdez, the longtime former councilmember who recently resigned.

Pineda will serve the remainder of Valdez’s term, which ends November 2020. He completes the five-member council that includes Mayor Rich Kinney, Vice Mayor Arturo Cruz, and Councilmembers Elizabeth Pabon-Alvarado and Rita Xavier.

“The reason I ran for the appointment was because I want to help our most vulnerable populations to produce greater outcomes, improve the quality of life for all residents, and streamline access to needed resources and opportunities,” Pineda said.

Pineda is no stranger to the local political scene. He is the principal field representative for state Assemblymember Rob Bonta. Previously, he served in the same role for former state Assembymember Tony Thurmond, who is now the state Superintendent of Public Instruction. Thurmond attended Monday’s meeting to speak in support of Pineda’s council appointment.

In 2017, Pineda was the youngest candidate who ran to represent Assembly District 15 as a delegate and received the most votes among male candidates.

Pineda calls himself a “proud first generation college graduate” who was inspired to launch into community service as a teenager, following the death of his best friend in 2007 due to gang violence. Mentors inspired him to use his experiences as an at-risk youth to help inform public policy. At Richmond High, he was elected to the School Site Council and became a founding member of both youth commissions for the City of San Pablo and West Contra Costa Unified School District. He was also involved in many organizations and community campaigns. Pineda graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a Sociology degree.