Picture of Sonja Brunner

Councilmember Sonja Brunner


(831) 420-5020


Sonja Brunner was elected to the Santa Cruz City Council in November 2020 saying the connections she built in different segments of the community during her 28-year residency paid off with voters. She served on several different boards during her time in Santa Cruz, including chairing the Santa Cruz Housing Authority and serving as president of the Santa Cruz Downtown Association. In 2017, she survived a devastating car accident where the other driver was eventually arrested for driving under the influence. She advanced from a wheelchair to a cane to the point where she is now back to her old hobbies of stand-up paddleboarding and roller skating.

When Brunner won her seat in 2020, she ran as an at-large representative. In 2024, the remaining at-large representatives—Brunner, Sandy Brown, Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson and Martine Watkins—must run for district seats. Up for election in 2024 are Districts 1, 2, 3 and 5.

When Brunner stepped down as mayor in December 2022, that also represented a major shift in Santa Cruz’s political landscape: a change from mayors selected by a vote of the council to a mayor directly elected by voters.

First elected: Nov. 3, 2020

Day job: Small-business owner

Alma mater: Cabrillo College 

Notable quote: “In order to fund needed public services, we need a vibrant small business community that is generating local jobs and sales tax revenues.”

City Council Committees
Council Ad Hoc Budget and Revenue Committee
Health in All Policies Committee
Oversized Vehicles Ordinance Ad Hoc Committee

External Assignments
Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council (Council alternate)
Central Coast Community Energy Policy Board (alternate)
Homelessness 2x2 Committee
Library Financing Authority
Santa Cruz Community Farmers' Market (Alternate)
Visit Santa Cruz County

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