Ivy Taylor just made history. The Yale grad won a hard-fought race to become the first Black mayor of San Antonio, Texas, the seventh largest municipality in the U.S. and a majority Hispanic city.
After being appointed interim mayor last summer when Julian Castro left to become President Obama’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Taylor won a close runoff election against former state Senator Leticia Van de Putte. According to reports, Taylor tacked to the Right and was able to cobble together 52 percent of the vote by appealing to both African-Americans and white conservatives.
Born and raised in Queens, New York, Taylor earned a Bachelor’s degree from Yale, and a Master’s Degree in City Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During grad school, Taylor moved to San Antonio for an internship and met her future husband. She decided to stay in the city and worked for the Housing and Community Development Department and the Neighborhood Action Department. Before being elected mayor, Taylor served on the city council, advocating for low taxes, smart government, and economic development.
Taylor’s win surprised many in the staunchly Democrat city. Although the race was non-partisan, many in the Republican camp cheered her win and what it may signal for the city’s future.
“It’s a new day in San Antonio,” Taylor strategist Josh Robinson said after her win. “The old way of doing things didn’t work anymore.”
In her victory speech, Taylor thanked her supporters and told them she was eager to dive into her new role.
“Do you realize we have defeated a political machine?” she said. “The work starts on Monday at City Hall. We come together now as a city.”