Ron Nirenberg

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Ron Nirenberg
Ron Nirenberg NMFSC Leadership.jpg
Mayor of San Antonio
Assumed office
June 21, 2017
Preceded byIvy Taylor
Member of the San Antonio City Council
from the 8th district
In office
July 1, 2013 – June 21, 2017
Preceded byReed Williams
Succeeded byManny Pelaez
Personal details
Ronald Adrian Nirenberg

(1977-04-11) April 11, 1977 (age 45)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political partyIndependent
Erika Prosper
(m. 2001)
EducationTrinity University (BA)
University of Pennsylvania (MA)
WebsiteOfficial website
Campaign website

Ronald Adrian Nirenberg (born April 11, 1977)[1] is an American politician who is the mayor of San Antonio, Texas. Prior to his election, Nirenberg served as a member of the San Antonio City Council for District 8 for two terms.[2]

In 2013, Nirenberg was first elected in an upset victory to represent district 8 of the San Antonio City Council. Nirenberg was elected mayor in 2017, defeating incumbent Ivy Taylor, and was sworn in as the mayor of San Antonio on June 21, 2017.[3] He was narrowly re-elected in 2019 facing Greg Brockhouse, a city councilman critical of his policies. In the 2021 mayoral election, again, against Brockhouse, Nirenberg won with 61.89% of the vote.

Early life and education[edit]

Nirenberg is of Ashkenazi Jewish descent (from Poland and Russia) on his father's side and of mixed Filipino, Malay, Indian, and British heritage from his mother's side.[4] Nirenberg's mother and father met while the couple was serving with the Peace Corps in Malaysia.[5] His paternal grandparents immigrated to the United States before World War II, passing through Ellis Island. His Roman Catholic mother is half-Filipino and was born in Penang, Malaysia (then part of the colonial British protectorate of Malaya). His maternal grandmother was Anglo-Indian, born to a Scottish father and an Indian mother, while his maternal grandfather was a Tagalog-speaking Filipino musician with possible roots in Mindanao.[6] Nirenberg, who is Methodist, was raised in Austin, Texas.

Nirenberg attended Trinity University in San Antonio and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in communication. He later attended the University of Pennsylvania, from which he earned his Master of Arts in communications.[7] After college, he was a program director for the Annenberg Public Policy Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania[8] and served as the General Manager of KRTU-FM, the radio station at Trinity University.[9]

Electoral history[edit]

2013 San Antonio City Council, District 8 race[edit]

In his 2013 run for District 8 of the San Antonio City Council, Nirenberg was considered the underfunded candidate unlikely to be successful that was challenging a well-funded establishment candidate, Rolando Briones. Nirenberg had ran a grassroots campaign that consisted primarily of volunteers, including college students and recent graduates. Nonetheless, Nirenberg was victorious winning nearly 55% of the votes cast in the runoff election.[10]

2017 San Antonio mayoral race[edit]

On December 10, 2016, Nirenberg became the leading challenger to Ivy Taylor for her position as mayor of San Antonio.[11] On May 6, 2017, the first round of voting was held, with no candidate reaching the required majority of 50% of the vote. Nirenberg and Taylor finished with the two highest vote totals and advanced to a runoff election held June 10, 2017. Although Nirenberg trailed Taylor in the first municipal election, he went on to defeat Taylor 54.59-45.41% in the runoff election.[12] In so doing, Nirenberg became the first person in twenty years to defeat an incumbent mayor of San Antonio who sought re-election.[13][14]

2019 San Antonio mayoral race[edit]

Nirenberg declared his candidacy for re-election to the office on January 29, 2019.[15] His main opponent was identified as Greg Brockhouse, a member of the San Antonio City Council who also took office in 2017 and frequently objected to Nirenberg's platform.[16] The election was scheduled for May 4, 2019, but since no majority was reached by any candidate, a runoff election was held on June 8.[17] In the runoff, Nirenberg was elected to a second term, defeating Brockhouse by a 51.11% to 48.89% final vote.[18]

2021 San Antonio mayoral race[edit]

Nirenberg declared his candidacy for re-election for a third term in office on January 22, 2021.[19] The election was held on May 1, 2021.[20] Due to the close runoff in 2019 between Nirenberg and Brockhouse, they were considered by political watchers to be the two front-runner candidates in the election.[21] Nirenberg won his third term as mayor with 61.89% of the vote, while Brockhouse received 31.26%.[22]


Although Nirenberg identifies as an independent[23] and ran for office as a nonpartisan politician,[a] he has been described as ideologically progressive.[24][25][26][27]

In 2013, Nirenberg endorsed a city ordinance which bans discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Taylor, then also a member of the city council, voted against the ordinance. Taylor also opposed the city's filing of a lawsuit against the new state law which defines a misdemeanor offense for municipal officials who refuse to cooperate with federal authorities seeking to halt illegal immigration. Signed by Governor Greg Abbott, the law targets the sanctuary city movement. Nirenberg, conversely, backs the lawsuit.[5]

Nirenberg as a candidate for mayor, 2015.

As mayor-elect, Nirenberg called upon the city council to endorse the Paris climate accord even though U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans to remove the United States from the agreement. The San Antonio City Council approved a resolution to sign the Paris climate accord one day after Nirenberg's election, and in November 2017, the City Council approved the creation of a Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.[28][29][30] This would lead to San Antonio being one of 25 cities awarded the American Cities Climate Challenge grant in 2019 by Michael Bloomberg.[31]

In 2019, Nirenberg supported and defended the move to have a Chick-fil-A restaurant removed from the concessions contract at the San Antonio International Airport, citing a conflict with the company's opposition to LGBTQ rights and that the company's closure on Sunday, done on religious grounds, would hurt revenue.[32][33][34] The move faced controversy and national condemnation from conservatives.[35][36][37][38] Councilman Greg Brockhouse opposed this decision and called for a re-vote on the decision but it was defeated.[39][40] Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton later began an investigation on the actions of Nirenberg and the San Antonio City Council, claiming the decision was in violation of existing Texas laws, the U.S. Constitution, and even San Antonio's own ethics code.[41] The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also opened an investigation on this action.[42][43] On June 10, 2019, Texas governor Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 1978,[44] colloquially known as the "Save Chick-fil-A Bill", which forbids local governments from taking adverse steps against companies or individuals based on their religious beliefs.[45][46]

On March 18, 2020, Nirenberg issued an order for the temporary closure of all non-essential businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, making San Antonio the last major city in Texas to do so.[47][48] In 2021, Nirenberg criticized Texas Governor Greg Abbott's lifting of COVID-19 mandates and prohibition on local governments from being able to make their own ones, saying the governor was showing "callous disregard for life."[49] The City of San Antonio, led by Nirenberg, and Bexar County sued Abbott in Bexar County court to temporarily block his executive order barring local mandates.[50] A Bexar County judge issued the restraining order on Abbott's executive order, reinstating Nirenberg's mask mandate; a ruling that he applauded.[51] The Supreme Court of Texas would later block Nirenberg's mask mandate.[52]

Personal life[edit]

Nirenberg married Erika Prosper in 2001.[53] Erika is the director of customer insights for H-E-B.[54] The couple has one son.[55][56]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In Texas, all municipal elections are officially nonpartisan


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  2. ^ Baugh, Josh (June 10, 2017). "Ivy Taylor trailing challenger Ron Nirenberg in early election results". San Antonio Express News. Hearst Media. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  3. ^ "Ron Nirenberg sworn in as mayor of San Antonio". News 4 San Antonio. June 21, 2017. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  4. ^ Baugh, Josh (April 1, 2017). "Nirenberg's big gamble". San Antonio Express-News. Hearst Media. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  5. ^ a b "San Antonio Elects Progressive Mayor Who Celebrates His Jewish Heritage". The Jewish Daily Forward. Jewish Telegraphic Agency. June 12, 2017. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  6. ^ Gomez, Buddy (June 2, 2017). "OPINION: The Filipino-American in San Antonio, Texas". ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs. Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  7. ^ Nirenberg, Ronald. "Ron Nirenberg". LinkedIn. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  8. ^ "Anenberg Public Policy Center: Ron Nirenberg". Retrieved June 17, 2017.
  9. ^ Bailey, Scott. "San Antonio Councilman Nirenberg to give up Trinity University radio gig". San Antonio Business Journal. Retrieved July 24, 2021.
  10. ^ Baugh, Josh (16 June 2013). "Nirenberg wins District 8 seat". mySA. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  11. ^ Arias, Pilar (December 10, 2016). "SA Councilman Ron Nirenberg announces mayoral bid". KSAT-TV. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  12. ^ Elections Department (June 10, 2017). "Unofficial Results: City of San Antonio - Runoff". Bexar County. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  13. ^ Cary, Michael (May 17, 2006). "News: Party lines". San Antonio Current. Retrieved June 13, 2017.
  14. ^ Baugh, Josh (June 12, 2017). "Mayor-elect Nirenberg has hit the ground running". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  15. ^ Teitz, Liz (January 19, 2019). "San Antonio mayor announces run for re-election". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  16. ^ Teitz, Liz (February 9, 2019). "Brockhouse announces mayoral run". Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  17. ^ "City Elections". City of San Antonio. Archived from the original on February 21, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  18. ^ "Bexar County, Texas - City of San Antonio - Runoff". Bexar County Elections Department. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  19. ^ Tracy, Gerald (January 22, 2021). "Mayor Ron Nirenberg files to run for reelection in 2021". Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  20. ^ "City Elections". Archived from the original on March 27, 2021. Retrieved February 11, 2021.
  21. ^ Nowlin, Sanford (February 8, 2021). "With Greg Brockhouse's filing, May's race for mayor of San Antonio will likely be a rematch". San Antonio Current. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  22. ^ "Summary Results Report Joint General, Special and Charter Election". Bexar County. May 2, 2021. Archived from the original on May 2, 2021.
  23. ^ Estrada, Jade Esteban (April 11, 2019). "San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg: Good to the Last Punch". San Antonio Current. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  24. ^ August 2017 1, Christopher Hooks (26 July 2017). "Changing the Conversation". Texas Monthly. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  25. ^ "San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg's Second Chance". Worth. 9 March 2020. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  26. ^ "San Antonio elects progressive mayor who celebrates Jewish heritage". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 12 June 2017. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  27. ^ Baugh, Josh (17 June 2017). "Nirenberg taking a progressive focus". mySA. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  28. ^ Simmons, Monica. "San Antonio Joins Paris Agreement Allies in Combatting Climate Change". San Antonio Current. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  29. ^ "Following US Withdrawal From Paris Accord, San Antonio Boosts Clean Energy Efforts". Texas Standard. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  30. ^ "SA Climate Ready". City of San Antonio. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  31. ^ Snyder, Travis (January 11, 2019). "Michael Bloomberg Presents San Antonio with American Cities Climate Challenge Grant". San Antonio Current. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  32. ^ "Lawsuit Against San Antonio on Chick-fil-A's Behalf Reaches Texas Supreme Court". The Texan. 26 February 2021. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  33. ^ Platoff, Emma (28 March 2019). "Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is investigating San Antonio for banning Chick-fil-A from its airport". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  34. ^ Gray, Japhanie (29 March 2019). "Councilman regretful about decision to exclude Chick-fil-A from airport". KSAT. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  35. ^ "Controversy around Chick-fil-A at San Antonio Airport goes national". March 25, 2019. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  36. ^ Ramirez, Quixem (10 January 2020). "Lawsuit against San Antonio for banning Chick-fil-A at airport moving forward". WOAI. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  37. ^ "City of San Antonio allows Chick-fil-A to roost at airport despite controversy". CultureMap San Antonio. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  38. ^ Platoff, Emma (28 March 2019). "Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is investigating San Antonio for banning Chick-fil-A from its airport". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  39. ^ Varney, James (May 1, 2019). "Chick-fil-A becomes flash point in San Antonio mayor's race". Washington Times. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  40. ^ "Nirenberg Defends Council Decision On Blocking Chick-Fil-A From Airport; Company Responds". KTSA. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  41. ^ Platoff, Emma (March 28, 2019). "Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is investigating San Antonio for banning Chick-fil-A from its airport". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  42. ^ Fitzsimmons, Tim (May 28, 2019). "FAA investigating Chick-fil-A's exclusion at U.S. airports". NBC News. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  43. ^ Lardieri, Alexa (May 28, 2019). "FAA Investigates Texas, New York Airports Banning Chick-fil-A Restaurants". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  44. ^ "86(R) SB 1978 - Introduced version" (PDF). Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  45. ^ Kaplan, Talia (June 11, 2019). "Texas governor signs controversial 'Save Chick-fil-A' bill into law". Fox News. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  46. ^ Denham, Hannah (July 19, 2019). "Texas governor signs 'Save Chick-fil-A' bill into law". Washington Post. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  47. ^ Parker, Fares Sabawi, Garrett Brnger, Kolten (23 March 2020). "San Antonio residents ordered to stay at home except for crucial errands, businesses". KSAT. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  48. ^ "City orders suspension of dine-in service at restaurants, temporary closures of other 'non-essential' businesses". March 18, 2020. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  49. ^ Montgomery, David; Heyward, Giulia; Sandoval, Edgar (9 August 2021). "Abbott Criticized for Ban on Covid Mandates as Cases Soar in Texas". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  50. ^ Williams, Jordan (10 August 2021). "San Antonio sues Texas governor over restrictions on mask, vaccine mandates". TheHill. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  51. ^ Hawkins, Derek; Shammas, Britney; Knowles, Hannah; Meckler, Laura (10 August 2021). "Covid-19 latest updates: Texas judge clears way for San Antonio to mandate masks in blow to Gov. Greg Abbott". Washington Post. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  52. ^ "Texas Supreme Court temporarily blocks San Antonio's mask mandate". August 26, 2021. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  53. ^ Silmi, Malak (7 July 2021). "Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Erika Prosper re-create a wedding photo for their 20th anniversary". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  54. ^ Osterhage, Bonny (5 September 2021). "San Antonio Women We Love: Erika Prosper Nirenberg". San Antonio Magazine. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  55. ^ Nirenberg, Ron. "Values". Vote Ron. Ron Nirenberg Campaign. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  56. ^ Rodriguez, Ken (July 27, 2017). "Erika Prosper: From Field Work to First Lady". The Rivard Report. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of San Antonio