SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, California – To the delight of Filipinos in the United States and the Philippines, two Filipino Americans made history by becoming the Mayor and Vice Mayor in this Northern California city.

The two FilAms are Mark Nagales and Buenaflor Nicolas who, after three years initially serving as as the city’s first-ever Council members of Philippine heritage, were sworn in as Mayor and Vice Mayor, respectively, on December 7, veteran FilAm journalist Cherie M. Querol Moreno reported in and the Philippine News Today.

“I would say being elected to the South San Francisco City Council has been my dream as long as I can remember.  I wanted to serve my community and give back,” he told shortly before the installation rites.  As the “first Filipino to serve as Mayor, I hope there is a young person watching saying that ‘I can do that too.’  Representation matters and having a seat at the table matters.” he added.

Nagales, who immigrated as a child with his parents Cesar and Virginia Nagales, coordinates community outreach for Project Sentinel, a nonprofit whose mission is to engender and promote fairness and equality of housing while advocating for peaceful resolution of tenant-landlord disputes.  His employment gives him vantage point on a key issue particularly in San Mateo County, which has the highest housing values in the country.

Mayor Nagales grew up in South San Francisco and has been part of the community for over 30 years. He attended local public schools, including Los Cerritos Elementary School, Alta Loma Middle School, and South San Francisco High School. He graduated from San Francisco State University in 2003 with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science.

After graduating from college, Nagales served as an Aide to several elected officials, including former Assemblymember Fran Pavley, former Assemblymember Gene Mullin, and Congresswoman Jackie Speier. As Constituent Services Director for Congresswoman Speier, Nagales assisted countless seniors, veterans, and families access services, including recovering over $5 million in veterans’ benefits.

Prior to being elected to the City Council, Nagales served South San Francisco as Parks and Recreation Commissioner (2008-2014, Chair in 2013) and Planning Commissioner (2015-2018, Chair in 2018). Nagales was elected to the City Council in November 2018, and is proud to be one of the first Filipinos elected in South San Francisco.

Nagales and his wife Amy are the proud parents of two young children, Aidan and Josephine.  Nagales swore in as mayor with wife Aimee and children Aidan and Josephine by his side.

Daly City Vice Mayor Rod Daus Magbual called the occasion “historic and powerful.”

FilAm leaders like Daly City Mayor Juslyn Manalo lauded the election of Mayor Nagales and Vice Mayor Nicolas.