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July 11, 2017 > G—mez appointed Public Affairs director

G—mez appointed Public Affairs director

Submitted By Laurel Anderson and Marina Hinestrosa

County of Santa Clara County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith, M.D., J.D., has appointed Mar’a Leticia G—mez to the position of Director of the Office of Public Affairs. G—mez joins the County of Santa Clara after a journalistic career that spanned more than 20 years, 17 of them spent as news anchor, and general and special assignments reporter for the Bay AreaÕs Univision channel, KDTV-14. Her appointment is effective September 1, 2017.

The Director leads the Office of Public Affairs for the County of Santa Clara, which facilitates the flow of accurate and timely information regarding policies, programs and services throughout Santa Clara County. The Director is responsible for developing and executing a comprehensive communication strategy for the County, directing and coordinating public and media relations and community outreach that will effectively inform and engage the community on priorities, programs and services of the County of Santa Clara government.

ÒThe fact that one of our regionÕs most well-known and trusted journalists has decided to lead the CountyÕs Public Affairs team is a testament to both her commitment to keeping our community informed, as well as the breadth and depth of the County of Santa Clara governmentÕs programs that are of vital importance to our community,Ó said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith, M.D., J.D. ÒMar’a Leticia G—mez will play a key role in communicating our objectives and progress in achieving them, particularly major priorities such as transforming our correction system, creating and implementing more affordable housing opportunities, increasing our initiatives to address homelessness, providing whole person care to residents in need, continuing to rebuild the County workforce and physical infrastructure, and protecting the County from federal and state economic threats.Ó

Prior to coming to the Bay Area, G—mezÕ professional experience includes working as anchor/reporter for Univision in New York City; news correspondent for the Spanish newspaper El Pa’s; Washington, D.C., correspondent for Canal de Noticias NBC; and general assignment reporter for TV Azteca and Univision, in Mexico City.She has covered a wide range of breaking news, political, international affairs and human-interest stories including the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, presidential elections, and one-on-one interviews with several Latin American presidents and California governors. She moderated debates among mayoral candidates in San Jose and San Francisco, and has received numerous journalism accolades, including eighteen Emmy Awards and seven Associated Press Mark Twain Awards.

Off-camera, as a former President of the San Francisco Local of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and Vice-Chair of the National Broadcast Steering Committee, G—mez worked with union leaders and colleagues to improve the wages and working conditions of AFTRA members nationwide; to protect collective bargaining agreements; and to monitor and embrace the implementation of new technologies in the newsroom, in order to build labor protections around new duties assigned to radio and television broadcasters from coast to coast. She also worked with union members and station managers to adopt strategies that guarantee the safety of journalists who face threats while reporting. G—mez was a member of the AFTRA team that negotiated the merger with the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), which culminated in March 2012 with the establishment of the new union Screen Actors Guild?American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).

ÒI have a passion for telling stories and informing the community. This job will give me the opportunity to craft and communicate messages about projects and services that have a direct impact on people,Ó said Mar’a Leticia G—mez, the incoming Director of the Office of Public Affairs. ÒI look forward to helping each department in the County of Santa Clara communicate as effectively as possible with the communities they serve, and in so doing, making them more approachable, accountable and transparent. IÕm thrilled to join a team of seasoned professionals that empower and connect residents with the services that improve the quality of so many lives.Ó

G—mez holds a masterÕs degree in Sociology from The George Washington University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in French Literature and Sociology from the University of Maryland.

Born in Rosario, Argentina, G—mez grew up in Mexico City and Washington, D.C. She speaks English, Spanish, French and Italian. She studied music at various conservatories and has played the violin since she was 7 years old. She resides in the Bay Area with her husband Juan Carlos Guerrero.

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