SAN ANTONIO – District 7 City Councilwoman Ana Sandoval announced her resignation from City Council on Tuesday, citing growing personal obligations.
Sandoval, who was first elected to the San Antonio City Council in 2017, has only four-and-a-half months left in her current term, which ends in June. She plans to start a new position with the University Health System’s research division on Jan. 30, making Jan. 29 her last day as a council member.
In a letter and video directed to her constituents, Sandoval said that, as a new mother, she felt that she couldn’t meet both the needs of the community and her family and decided she needed to put her family first. She reiterated the reasoning in an interview with KSAT and other media outlets Tuesday morning.
Sandoval has a 7-month-old daughter and told reporters she also plays a different role in her mom’s life following her father’s death in November 2021.
“I want to be able to provide for both of them and to be there for both of them, and that’s my priority. That’s something that’s I don’t feel I could do well while being a council member,” Sandoval told reporters. “So I had to choose between the two, and that’s what I’m choosing.”
“I also think that the community deserves somebody who’s going to be focused on this. And I can’t do 100% or, you know, 110% on the job right now with those other demands on my personal life. And that’s not fair to to District 7 either.”
Sandoval, 47, previously told KSAT that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, she decided it was time to undergo invitro fertilization with the eggs she had frozen while she was in her 30s.
“I wanted a baby, and the time was ticking away. And I didn’t want to basically wake up one day at the end of my term limits as a council member and say, ‘Oh, I could have done that and have missed this opportunity,’” she said in August, adding that having a child gave her a “new lens to see things through.”
With the annual salary of a city council member set at $45,722, finances also played a role.
Sandoval said ever since she had decided to have her baby, she had been thinking more and more about how it would be tough, not only to balance the work but provide for her daughter on that.
“I think it was just really a matter of when I when I felt ready to to do it,” Sandoval said.
She added that, without that pay, she would not have been able stay on council as long as she has.
“And there are plenty of people in our community who are able to — who have to raise a family on that salary, and they don’t just have one child. They may have more. So I don’t want to dismiss how valuable that is — that amount of money would be to somebody in our community.”
Mayor Ron Nirenberg issued the following statement about Sandoval’s announcement.
“Councilwoman Sandoval and I spoke early last week about her next phase, which is admittedly bittersweet. We will miss her steadfast commitment to our local environment, equitable policies, and the general wellbeing of San Antonio’s residents. I think I speak for all San Antonians in wishing her and baby Isadora all the best in their next chapter. I am thankful that our community will continue to reap the benefits of her knowledge and experience at University Health,” Nirenberg said.
Sandoval grew up in District 7 after her family came to the United States from Monterrey, Mexico, when she was a year old. She graduated from Jefferson High School and went on to get degrees from MIT, Stanford, and Harvard.
She’s known for her concentration on health and environmental issues while on city council. She listed some of her proudest accomplishments on council as increased accessibility and transparency on city council meetings, raising the age to buy tobacco to 21 before the statewide and nationwide changes, and the creation of a “Resiliency, Energy Efficiency, and Sustainability Fund.”
The last accomplishment is wrapped up, however, in a more high-profile incident.
In September, Sandoval was confronted ahead of a council meeting by an angry District 1 Councilman Mario Bravo, who was upset that Sandoval would not be supporting his plan for spending excess CPS Energy revenue. The council later censured and passed a no-confidence vote against Bravo over the incident.
Sandoval did not reference the confrontation in her letter to constituents. She downplayed the incident when KSAT asked if it had had a role in her decision.
“Did the confrontation make my job any easier? No, of course not. But there are a lot of difficult things that happen on this council with many council members, not just not just that particular council member,” Sandoval said.
The timing of Sandoval’s planned departure on Jan. 29 leaves the next steps for the seat uncertain.
Since that is just a few days over a 120-day benchmark laid out in the city charter, City Attorney Andy Segovia said it will be up to council members whether to appoint a temporary replacement or wait for the winner of the May 6 election to take their seat in June.
The city charter requires the council to appoint a replacement if there are 120 days or less left in the term. If there are more than 120 days left, they must be filled by a “special election.”
“But here, calling a special election puts it at the same time as our regular election. So, in effect, the special election is the regular election,” Segovia said.
Council members are allowed to appoint a replacement in the meantime, Segovia said, but the charter does not require it.
If a replacement is chosen, Sandoval prefers someone who won’t be seeking a permanent seat.
“I do not think it is our role to tip the scales of a future election by putting in someone who is considering running for the seat. Also, I think it’d just be almost impossible to serve the public while you’re running a campaign — a campaign you plan to win anyway,” Sandoval said.
Starting Wednesday, aspiring City Council candidates can apply to be on the ballot. Applications can be filed at the Office of the City Clerk in City Hall at 100 Military Plaza from Jan. 18 until 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 17.