As the results of Compton’s June 1st’s general election continue to be counted, Compton City Councilwoman Emma Sharif has managed to hold on to a narrow lead in her bid to become the city’s next mayor. So far, the 70-year- old Sharif has received 51.31% of the vote against her opponent, the 26-year-old real estate agent Christian Reynaga’s who appears to be closing the gap with 48.69%. As the results of Compton’s General Municipal Election are expected to be certified on June 14th, Sharif is still waiting to declare victory while remaining cautiously optimistic.
“Although I am not ready to claim victory, I am extremely proud of our lead after the initial votes have been counted,” Sharif said in a statement. “We will wait for updates from the County Registrar after the vast majority of votes are counted. I am thankful that our message resonated with the voters of Compton and they believed in our vision to create a better quality of life for all residents. I look forward to working with the City Council, staff and community to unify our city and serve all of the residents of Compton once elected. Lastly, thank you to all those who supported me throughout the campaign.”
In January when the popular incumbent mayor Aja Brown– who at the age of 31 became Compton’s youngest mayor- – announced that she will not run for a third term, the people of Compton had to decide who was right to lead the city out of the pandemic. Despite Christian Reynaga receiving Mayor Brown’s endorsement, a strong showing in the primaries, and vying to become the first Latino mayor in a city that is about 68% Latino, voters so far have favored Sharif’s years of experience.
Sharif, who has represented Compton’s 4th District on the City Council since 2015 has built her platform on the five key areas of tackling home- lessness, finishing street repairs, eco- nomic development through new business, increasing funding to expand senior citizen programs and increasing public safety by improving the city’s relationship with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
“To me this is a new beginning for this city and this community,” Sharif tells L.A. Focus. “We have a lot of things that we’re looking to accomplish but we need to start with our street repair program, and we also need to address the homeless population in our community, so we are working on and moving forward with our efforts there.”
If elected, Sharif will be focusing her efforts on projects that will improve the quality of life for residents of Compton while making it attractive for businesses that will spur economic development.
“We want to get a lot of the things done that the community has been asking for a while now, things like keeping the trees maintained,” says Sharif. “We will be continuing with economic development plans so that people still want to come to our city, and to make sure we’re cleaning up our city. If we focus on cleaning up our city, people will come, businesses will come, and people will move here. We will stay focused on building relationships here so that we can keep crime down in our city and make sure our community is safe.”
A Compton resident for over 20 years, Sharif raised her children in the city working as a public school teacher and Youth Development Director. As a result of her passion and advocacy for her students Sharif was appointed to the Compton Unified School District (CUSD) in 2001 and would go on to serve as Trustee of the CUSD Board of Directors for fourteen years before joining the City Council in 2015.
When asked what motivates her to continue serving the people of Compton in the city’s highest seat, her answer is simple.
“I don’t have any hidden agendas, I’m just here to be of service to the people,” says Sharif. “When I see that I’ve done something to really help this community, that’s what gives me motivation and hope that we can make positive change. And when people see things getting done, that gives everyone hope.”