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The Bend Magazine

HER: Paulette Guajardo

By: Kirby Conda  Photography by: Duex Bohéme

Production Team: Hair by: Evana Reyna & Amber GarciaRiptide Salon  •  Makeup by: Ashle Riff AlignoTease Salon  •  Wardrobe Styled by: Alexa GignacJulian Gold  •  Location: Elizabeth's at the Art Museum


 

The day of our photoshoot for this feature, Corpus Christi Mayor Paulette Guajardo arrived with a beaming presence, two phones continuously buzzing with calls, emails, and calendar notifications, and a change of clothes for the City Council meeting she had to lead immediately following her time with our team. It would be an understatement to say this is one busy woman. Guajardo, only the fourth female mayor of the City of Corpus Christi, has joined the ranks of the trailblazing group of female mayors in this town, and she’s going to make sure she isn’t the last. 

“In the long history of our city, we have had 58 mayors,” said Guajardo, “and only four of them were women. I want to be a role model for girls. I also want to see more leadership positions at City Hall held by women and more elected officials that are women in the future.”

When Mayor Guajardo pledged to be a “full-time mayor,” she wasn’t kidding around. She is everywhere at every event advocating to make Corpus, the city she grew up in, the best it can be. In one further assertion, Mayor Guajardo has arguably been the first mayor in a long while to outrun her campaign platform. 

Leading a city in any period of time, I’d imagine, is no easy feat. Yet, less than a year into her term, amidst a pandemic, a historic freeze, and a slew of other issues our community faces, Mayor Guajardo managed to not only hit the ground running, but do so with poise and determination. Just three weeks into her administration, Guajardo spearheaded a program to provide vaccines to seniors in our community in a more efficient way. This program would later go on to become a model launched statewide. 

Mayor Guajardo ran her campaign on the back of some pretty hefty promises. But what the public may or may not know is that she was already working on issues such as the Small Business Pandemic Relief Program with the Port of Corpus Christi even before becoming the city’s mayor. Guajardo was also involved in the city’s partnership with LiftFund Inc., which approved a $2 million loan program for small businesses affected by COVID-19. 

Day by day, her perseverance and dedication to remaining true to her word and the platform on which she ran is undeniable. Not only has this woman managed to leave her checklist in the dust, but she’s also been successful in exceeding a lot of her constituents’ expectations, delivering on issues that weren’t on her platform and off many of our radars. Be it the way she talks about being a Flour Bluff alumna or her admiration for the young professionals opening their own businesses or her ideas for moving our city forward, the love she has for this community is evident. 

In Her Own Words

What keeps you up at night?

Six months ago what kept me up at night was making sure senior citizens had accessible vaccinations readily available, and that’s why I created the Save our Seniors (SOS) Program which was modeled at the state level. Recently, health professionals and hospitals have advised that unvaccinated children and adolescents are now our most vulnerable to the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus. It is with mixed feelings that I say I launched the In-Home Vaccination Program that provides COVID-19 vaccinations to anyone over the age of 12 years directly to their home. Within the first two days, we had almost 200 registrants. I consider that a huge victory, because each vaccinated person means one less individual who will experience severe symptoms to this virus that has wreaked global havoc now for the past 20 months. It also means decreasing the community spread of the virus to hundreds and possibly thousands of others. Corpus Christi residents can call our City Customer Service Center to register to have a Corpus Christi firefighter visit your home to administer the vaccine. 

As a public figure and role model, what do you hope little girls and women take away from your work in the community? 

My main goal is to positively impact my community through the integrity of my word, my actions, and serving as a mentor to girls and young women who will be the future leaders of our city. I hope that my role in government will open more doors and provide the inspiration for young girls to follow their dreams. I hope that by them seeing me as a leader, they will see a future reflection of themselves and are motivated to work toward that goal. For all the women out there, hear this: You ARE qualified. You ARE ready. Apply for that job. Open that business. Your Mayor did, and you can, too! 

Which woman in your life inspired you the most?

As you can imagine, my mother has had the most positive impact on my life. She taught my siblings and me that faith, family, and service to others are the most important values we can have. For example, she showed me that serving others is an honor. That is why today, serving the people is at the center of everything I do. With her as a role model, I learned to prioritize the needs of individuals and the community as a whole above all else.