FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE/KSEE) – Annalisa Perea grew up in southeast Fresno with a family who instilled the values of hard work, and philanthropy.
“My parents raised us to always serve our community, to always give back to your community,” said Perea.
As a third-generation Mexican American, she didn’t see a lot of representation growing up.
She hopes her position as a city council member will encourage other Latinas to reach for more.
“What I hope to be on the city council is a person that other little girls can look to and say she looks like me, and her values align with mine,” said Perea.
After watching her father Henry Perea and one of her brothers Henry Perea Jr. serve on the city council, it would only be a matter of time before she took her seat as well.
She recalls being a little girl and going out into the community to clean up graffiti with her dad every weekend.
“And so just from a very young age, my parents instilled a very strong sense of public service, not only in me but in my siblings as well,” said Perea.
After graduating from Bullard High School in 2005 she attended Fresno City College before transferring to Cal Poly where she graduated with a degree in city and regional planning.
Through the years she always served on boards, commissions, and committees but in 2018 she decided it was time to do even more.
“I was looking for a bigger way to have a more positive impact on my community and so that’s when I ran for public office for the first time,” said Perea.
She then became elected to the State Center Community College District Board of Trustees overseeing Fresno, Clovis, Oakhurst, Reedley, and Madera community colleges.
For the last 12 years, she has been involved in projects spanning from new parks to new affordable housing.
“My professional background really helped prepare me to best serve my community in the role of a city council member,” said Perea.
In 2022 she was elected to the city council working to represent the community she serves, while also being the first openly out LGBTQ+ city council member.
“I’m younger, I’m Latina, I’m part of the LGBTQ+ community,” said Perea.“I wear that badge proudly, and I am really humbled to be their face in a lot of cases.”
As her career continues she hopes to inspire the younger generation, encouraging them to always say yes to new opportunities.