Council Member Maria "Belen" Bernal

Council Experience
Maria “Belen” Bernal was sworn in as a City Council Member on April 14, 2015, to serve her first four-year term. Prior to serving on City Council she was the South Gate City Treasurer for six years. Council Member Bernal's willingness to serve our community is instilled by her parents’ exemplary values of service to others, justice, family, and faith.

At a Special City Council meeting on December 16, 2014, the City Council adopted a Resolution providing for the appointment of three candidates to the office of the City Council, including Maria “Belen” Bernal. With three City Council seats open for the March 3, 2015 General Municipal Election and three qualified candidates filing nomination papers for those same offices, the City Council voted to cancel the election.

Professional Experience
Council Member Belen started her career as a representative for Assemblyman Marco A. Firebaugh, who represented South Gate in the state legislature. As she learned more about Southeast Los Angeles communities, her commitment and enthusiasm to be of service to others grew. In the last 10 years, Council Member Bernal has promoted the enhancement of social services, affordable housing, civic engagement, and access to legal services by working with local organizations, such as:
  • Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles
  • St. Francis Medical Center
  • Oldtimers Foundation
  • Community Lawyers, Inc.
  • Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
Education & Volunteer Work
A graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, Council Member Bernal also holds a Master of Business Administration from California State University, Long Beach. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and volunteers to serve as a director on the board of Community Lawyers, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides access to affordable legal services and develops opportunities for attorneys and law students in underserved communities. Council Member Bernal has also served as finance board member with Associated Student Government, interned with the Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Department of the AFL-CIO in Washington D.C., and has volunteered her time as a youth mentor and catechist at her local parish and through her involvement in the Riordan Programs at UCLA.

Personal Information
Council Woman Bernal was born in East Los Angeles and has been a resident of South Gate for 29 years. She was raised on the West side of the City and attended Stanford and Montara Avenue Elementary schools, South Gate Middle and South Gate High School. She resides in South Gate with her husband Juan and their daughter Elisa.