|Mayor of San Antonio|
|Assumed office |
June 21, 2017
|Preceded by||Ivy Taylor|
|Member of the San Antonio City Council|
from the 8th district
July 1, 2013 – June 21, 2017
|Preceded by||Reed Williams|
|Succeeded by||Manny Pelaez|
Ronald Adrian Nirenberg
April 11, 1977
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Education||Trinity University (BA)|
University of Pennsylvania (MA)
Ronald Adrian Nirenberg (born April 11, 1977) is an American politician who is the mayor of San Antonio, Texas. He was elected following his defeat of the incumbent mayor Ivy Taylor in the runoff for the 2017 mayoral race. Prior to his election, Nirenberg served as a member of the San Antonio City Council for District 8 for two terms. He was sworn into office on June 21, 2017.
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. Nirenberg's mother and father met while the couple was serving with the Peace Corps in Malaysia. 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. Nirenberg, who is Methodist, was raised in the capital city of 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. After college, he was a program director for the Annenberg Public Policy Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
2017 San Antonio mayoral race
On December 10, 2016, Nirenberg became the first primary challenger to Ivy Taylor for her position as mayor of San Antonio. 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 primary vote, he went on to defeat Taylor 54.59-45.41%. In so doing, Nirenberg became the first person in twenty years to defeat an incumbent mayor of San Antonio who sought re-election.
2019 San Antonio mayoral race
Nirenberg declared his candidacy for re-election to the office on January 29, 2019. His primary 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. The election was scheduled for May 4, 2019, but since no majority was reached by any candidate, a runoff election was scheduled for June 8. In the runoff, Nirenberg was elected to a second term, defeating Brockhouse by a 51.11% to 48.89% final vote.
2021 San Antonio mayoral race
Nirenberg declared his candidacy for re-election for a third term in office on January 22, 2021. The election was held on May 1, 2021. Due to the close runoff in 2019 between Nirenberg and Brockhouse, they were considered by political watchers to be the two primary candidates in the election. Nirenberg won his third term as mayor with 61.89% of the vote, while Brockhouse received 31.26%.
Although Nirenberg identifies as an independent and ran for office as a nonpartisan politician (in Texas, all municipal elections are officially nonpartisan), he was considered to have run on a more progressive platform. 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.
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. This would lead to San Antonio being one of 25 cities awarded the American Cities Climate Challenge grant in 2019 by Michael Bloomberg.
In 2019, Nirenberg led the charge 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 of same-sex marriage. Councilman Greg Brockhouse opposed this decision and called for a re-vote on the decision but it was defeated. 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. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also opened an investigation on this action. On June 10, 2019, Texas governor Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 1978, 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. On September 5, a group of five individuals filed suit against the City of San Antonio citing this new law, but the lawsuit was dismissed in August 2020 as the courts ruled that the law was not retroactive.
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| Mayor of San Antonio