The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) Thursday inaugurated Napa County Supervisor Belia Ramos as its new president and Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín as Vice President of the regional planning agency and council of governments. Both will serve two-year terms.
Ramos’s ascension to the ABAG presidency marks the first time Napa County officials simultaneously have led both ABAG and its sibling organization, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza has served as MTC Chair since 2021. Ramos, who has served for the past four years as ABAG’s Vice President, becomes only the second Napa County official to lead the Association. The first was former Supervisor Mark Luce, who held the reins from 2012 through 2013.
Ramos will replace Arreguín as the leader of the ABAG Executive Board while Arreguín will serve for a second time as Vice President, a position to which he was first elected in 2018 before rising to the top post two years later.
“Jesse has been an outstanding leader and a tremendous mentor,” said Ramos. “His ability to shepherd ABAG through the COVID-19 pandemic while also navigating the latest Regional Housing Needs Assessment cycle, teaming with MTC to develop Plan Bay Area 2050 and to get the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority off the ground, and nurturing the growth of other ABAG programs is nothing short of amazing. Like its member governments, the ABAG Executive Board continues to face major near-term challenges, including a new budget for the next fiscal year. Jesse’s continued presence on the leadership team will help us pass the difficult tests ahead.”
Ramos, who lives in American Canyon with her children, was elected to the Napa County Board of Supervisors in 2016 and then reelected in 2020. She served on the American Canyon City Council from 2010 to 2016. Ramos graduated from Saint Mary's College of California in 1999 and UC Law San Francisco in 2004. Upon her admission to the State Bar of California, Ramos worked as a civil litigator and employment counselor, advising Fortune 500 companies on labor and employment policies and procedures.
Arreguín was first elected as mayor of Berkeley in 2016, becoming the first Latino and youngest person elected to the office in a century. Before his election as mayor, Arreguín represented District 4 on the Berkeley City Council from 2008 to 2016. He also served on the city’s Housing Commission and in 2004 was elected to serve on Berkeley’s Rent Stabilization Board. The son and grandson of farmworkers, Arreguín was born in Fresno and raised in San Francisco. He attended UC Berkeley and was the first in his family to graduate from college.
Founded in 1961, ABAG is the regional planning agency for the Bay Area’s nine counties and 101 cities and towns; and is recognized as the first council of governments in California. ABAG’s president serves as chair of both the association’s Executive Board and the General Assembly, appoints committee members, serves on all committees that deal with ABAG business, and may call meetings of the Administrative Committee as needed between regularly scheduled meetings of the ABAG Executive Board.