Michelle De La Isla Article

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Michelle De La Isla is the Mayor of Topeka, Kansas. She previously served on the Topeka City Council from 2013-2018. De La Isla holds the distinction of being the city's first Latina, first single mother, and second female to serve as mayor. [1]

Michelle De La Isla
Mayor of Topeka
Assumed office
January 8, 2018
Preceded by Larry Wolgast
Topeka City Council Representative
In office
2013–2018
Personal details
BornMarch 19, 1976
New York, New York
Education Wichita State University ( B.S.)

Early life and career

Born of humble beginnings in New York City, De La Isla faced many challenges at a young age. Early in life, her mother fled for safety and took De La Isla and her brother to Puerto Rico to live with her grandparents. De La Isla overcame many obstacles during her childhood, including homelessness and teenage pregnancy.

As a single mother, De La Isla attended the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez before moving to Wichita, Kansas in 2000. In 2001, she graduated from Wichita State University with a bachelor of science degree in biology. After graduation, De La Isla remained in Wichita and worked as a teacher for Upward Bound. [2] She attributes her passion for advocacy and public service to her experience in this role.

After relocating to Topeka, Kansas in 2005, De La Isla worked for Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc. and ultimately served as the company's Chief Financial Officer. She also joined MANA National, became a founding member of MANA de Topeka, and traveled around the country educating women on financial literacy.

In 2010, De La Isla became Executive Director of Topeka Habitat for Humanity where she established Topeka's first ReStore and increased service delivery. [3]  She also participated in the Capital District Group to advocate for and develop the current Downtown Topeka plan, further fueling her desire to engage in public service.

Political career

In 2013, De La Isla successfully ran for Topeka City Council and was elected to represent the 5th district. She served as Deputy Mayor to Mayor Larry Wolgast in 2016. De La Isla announced her candidacy for mayor on April 11, 2017 after Mayor Wolgast announced he would not seek reelection. [4]

On November 7, 2017, De La Isla won the Topeka mayoral race by a margin of 501 votes, making her the city's first Latina, first single mother and second female to hold the position. [5] Before the election, De La Isla also announced that she would continue her employment at Westar Energy, which also makes her the first mayor to hold additional employment during her tenure.

As mayor, De La Isla serves on the Board of Regents for Washburn University, the Board of the Joint Economic Development Organization, and as Tri-Chair of GO Topeka’s Momentum 2022 collective action plan for Topeka and Shawnee County.

References

  1. ^ Hrenchir, Tim. "Michelle De La Isla becomes Topeka's first Hispanic mayor". The Topeka Capital. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  2. ^ "Upward Bound Math Science". www.wichita.edu. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  3. ^ Bush, Ann Marie. "Topeka Habitat announces new store". The Topeka Capital. Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  4. ^ Viviani, Nick. "Council member de la Isla throws her hat in the ring for Topeka mayor". Retrieved 2018-11-25.
  5. ^ "A Year After Trump, Women and Minorities Give Groundbreaking Wins to Democrats". Retrieved 2018-11-25.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Larry Wolgast
Mayor of Topeka, Kansas
2018–present
Succeeded by
incumbent