Sherri Lightner

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Sherri S. Lightner
Sherri Lightner's 2012 Ballot Photo
President of the San Diego City Council
In office
December 10, 2014 – December 12, 2016
Preceded byTodd Gloria
Succeeded byMyrtle Cole
Member of San Diego City Council
from the 1st district
In office
December 2008 – December 12, 2016
Preceded byScott Peters
Succeeded byBarbara Bry
Personal details
Sherri Ann Schuler

1950 (age 72–73)
Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseBruce D. Lightner
ResidenceLa Jolla, California
EducationUniversity of California, San Diego (BA, MS)

Sherri Ann Lightner (née Schuler; born 1950) is an American politician, businesswoman, engineer, and community activist who served as a member of the San Diego City Council for District 1, from November 2008 to 2017.[1] She is a Democrat, although council positions are officially nonpartisan.

Early life and education[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. Lightner earned a B.A. in mathematics and sociology and her M.S. in applied mechanics and engineering from the University of California, San Diego.


Lightner is licensed by the State of California as a Professional Mechanical Engineer.[2]

Lightner worked in private industry as an engineer for 23 years. She started her professional career as an engineering aide at General Atomics, hired by the High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor Division. After earning her master's degree, she 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.[citation needed]

After another five years at General Atomics, Lightner retired from engineering and formed a small technology hardware and software consulting firm with her husband. Lightner also began 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.[3][4] 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.[5][6] 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.[7] Lightner replaced termed-out San Diego City councilmember Scott Peters on December 8, 2008.[8] 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.[9]

She was re-elected in the 2012 election, defeating Republican Ray Ellis[10][11] Lightner competed in a November runoff, defeating, Ellis 55% to 45%.[12]

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.[13]

On December 10, 2014, Lightner was voted to be City Council President, replacing Todd Gloria.[14] In 2016, she retired from the City Council due to term limits.[15]

Personal life[edit]

She and her husband live in La Jolla Shores.[16]


  1. ^ City of San Diego Council District 1 Official Website
  2. ^ Licensee Information - California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors
  3. ^ Washburn, David (September 30, 2008). "Courting Coastal Republicans in District 1". Voice of San Diego. Archived from the original on September 15, 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  4. ^ San Diego County Official Election Results, June 2008 Primary Election
  5. ^ San Diego City Clerk's Campaign and Lobbyist Disclosure Web pages
  6. ^ Washburn, David (May 22, 2008). "It's Raining Money in District 1". Voice of San Diego. Archived from the original on September 19, 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  7. ^ San Diego County Official Election Results, November 2008 General Election
  8. ^ Gustafson, Craig (November 5, 2008). "Lightner, Gloria sweep onto San Diego council". The San Diego Union-Tribune.
  9. ^ "City Council Committee Meetings". City of San Diego. Retrieved 18 July 2013.
  10. ^ Clark, Matt (November 25, 2012). "Council Results Show Deep Support for Lightner". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 25 November 2012.
  11. ^ Gustafson, Craig (November 19, 2011). "Related: News» Republicans seek majority on San Diego council". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  12. ^ "County of San Diego, Presidential Primary Election, Tuesday, June 5, 2012". San Diego County Registrar of Voters. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  13. ^ Gustafson, Craig (August 30, 2013). "Q&A with Todd Gloria, interim mayor". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2 September 2013.
  14. ^ "Todd Gloria Voted Out as City Council President".
  15. ^ Garrick, David (March 4, 2016). "New candidates jumble key council race". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  16. ^ "Official city biography". Archived from the original on 2010-11-06. Retrieved 2011-01-01.

Further reading[edit]