Sherri Lightner

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Sherri S. Lightner
Sherri Lightner's 2012 Ballot Photo
Member of San Diego City Council representing the First District
In office
December 2008 – December 12, 2016
Preceded by Scott Peters
Succeeded by Barbara Bry
Personal details
Born 1950 (age 67–68)
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Bruce D. Lightner
Children Evlyn Baez
Residence La Jolla, California
Alma mater University of California, San Diego
Profession Mechanical Engineer, Businessperson

Sherri Schuler Lightner (born 1950) is a San Diego, California politician and community activist. She was the councilmember for San Diego City Council District 1,[1] elected to a four-year term in November 2008 and re-elected in November 2012. She is a Democrat, although council positions are officially nonpartisan per California state law. She and her husband live in La Jolla Shores.[2]

According to the San Diego Association of Governments,[3] Lightner's district has a population of 188,625 people. Council District 1 includes the communities of Carmel Valley, Del Mar Heights, the North City Future Urbanizing Area (Black Mountain Ranch, Del Mar Mesa, Pacific Highlands Ranch, and Torrey Highlands), most of La Jolla and Bird Rock, Rancho Peñasquitos, Rose Canyon[disambiguation needed], the lower San Dieguito River Valley, Sorrento Hills, Sorrento Valley, Torrey Hills, Torrey Pines, University City, and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) campus.

Life and career[edit]

Lightner was born in western Pennsylvania in 1950 as Sherri Ann Schuler. She moved to San Diego during elementary school and graduated from Crawford High School in San Diego. Lightner then went on to UCSD where she received her B.A. in mathematics and sociology and her M.S. in applied mechanics and engineering. She is licensed by the State of California as a Professional Mechanical Engineer.[4]

Lightner worked in private industry as an engineer for 23 years. She started her professional career as an engineering aide at General Atomics (GA), hired by the High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor Division after graduating from UCSD. Lightner later earned an M.S. degree from UCSD and worked as an engineer in the Structural Engineering Department at General Atomics for eight years, and the company's Fusion Division for another five years. She then accepted a senior engineering position with the Structural Dynamics group at Rohr Industries to work on high velocity (ballistic) impact analysis. After five years at Rohr, Lightner returned to General Atomics to work on the New Production Reactor (NPR).[citation needed]

After another five years at General Atomics, Lightner retired from the engineering profession and formed with her husband a small technology hardware and software consulting firm. Lightner also took up public service work, serving as a volunteer for several San Diego nonprofit organizations. She was the president of the La Jolla Town Council and La Jolla Shores Association and secretary for the La Jolla Community Planning Association.[citation needed]

San Diego City Council[edit]

Lightner was one of three candidates to represent San Diego City Council District 1 in the 2008 election. Lightner led the pack in the June primary, gaining 36.5 percent of the vote compared to Phil Thalheimer's 33.8 percent and Marshall Merrifield's 29.5 percent. Since no candidate got a majority of the votes, Lightner and Thalheimer were forced into a runoff election.[5][6] During the primaries, the three candidates spent just over $1 million, a record for City Council elections: between December 31, 2007 and June 30, 2008, Lightner spent $115,298, Thalheimer spent $359,678, and Merrifield spent $653,628.[7][8] These amounts do not include any independent expenditure or "member communication" money from the Republican and Democratic parties.

Lightner won the San Diego City Council general election in November with 51.9 percent of the vote, compared to Thalheimer's 48.1 percent.[9] Lightner replaced termed-out San Diego City councilmember Scott Peters on December 8, 2008.[10] Lightner was elected to a four-year term.

Lightner is chair of the Rules and Economic Development Committee and Land Use and Housing Committee. She also serves on the Land Use and Housing Committee and the Budget and Finance Committee.[11]

She was re-elected in the 2012 election, surviving a strong challenge from Ray Ellis,[12] who was part of a coordinated three-person slate supported by the local Republican Party in an attempt to gain a Republican majority on the nine-member board.[13] Lightner was forced into a November runoff where she won re-election, 55% to 45%.[14]

As council president pro tem from August 30, 2013 to March 3, 2014, Lightner performed the duties of the council president while Council President Todd Gloria served as interim mayor.[15]

On December 10, 2014, Lightner was voted to be City Council President, replacing Todd Gloria[16]

In 2016, she retired from the City Council due to term limits.[17]


  1. ^ City of San Diego Council District 1 Official Website
  2. ^ Official city biography
  3. ^ San Diego Association of Governments Website
  4. ^ Licensee Information - California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors
  5. ^ Washburn, David (September 30, 2008). "Courting Coastal Republicans in District 1". Voice of San Diego. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  6. ^ San Diego County Official Election Results, June 2008 Primary Election
  7. ^ San Diego City Clerk's Campaign and Lobbyist Disclosure Web pages
  8. ^ Washburn, David (May 22, 2008). "It's Raining Money in District 1". Voice of San Diego. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  9. ^ San Diego County Official Election Results, November 2008 General Election
  10. ^ Gustafson, Craig (November 5, 2008). "Lightner, Gloria sweep onto San Diego council". The San Diego Union-Tribune. 
  11. ^ "City Council Committee Meetings". City of San Diego. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  12. ^ Clark, Matt (November 25, 2012). "Council Results Show Deep Support for Lightner". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 25 November 2012. 
  13. ^ Gustafson, Craig (November 19, 2011). "Related: News» Republicans seek majority on San Diego council". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  14. ^ "County of San Diego, Presidential Primary Election, Tuesday, June 5, 2012". San Diego County Registrar of Voters. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  15. ^ Gustafson, Craig (August 30, 2013). "Q&A with Todd Gloria, interim mayor". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2 September 2013. 
  16. ^ "Todd Gloria Voted Out as City Council President". 
  17. ^ Garrick, David (March 4, 2016). "New candidates jumble key council race". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 7 March 2016. 

Further reading[edit]