The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

DVC Economics Professor Andrea Sorce Runs for Mayor of Vallejo

Courtesy of Andrea Sorce

When Andrea Sorce moved to Vallejo with her husband seven years ago, she saw the city offering the kind of richness of diversity, culture and community she was looking for. 

But as time went on, Sorce felt the need to speak out about what she saw as some of Vallejo’s most problematic issues, from government corruption to lack of police accountability. Sorce, who was hired as an economics professor at Diablo Valley College six years ago, began appearing at Vallejo City Council meetings, where she made public comments targeting city officials and the police force.

But after listening to the Vallejo City Council make excuse after excuse about the city’s problems, and seeing no progress being made, she decided she would use her leadership experience—and the support from people around her—to run for mayor.   

Now, this November, Sorce is seeking to unseat Mayor Robert McConnell on an ambitious platform to tackle public safety, reform the police department, improve financial responsibility, increase economic development, and foster greater government transparency. 

“It’s so frustrating because the city is so beautiful, but what makes the news is our scandals,” said Sorce in a recent interview with The Inquirer.

“The thing I’d be most excited to change is the culture from the top: trying to facilitate solutions to real problems.”

One of the major crises facing the city, police reform, especially moved Sorce to get involved in local politics.

“Unfortunately the police department has a really dark past, and there’s dark things happening in the present that people don’t want to acknowledge,” she said. To date, “no one has stepped up and done the right thing.”

“The first step is acknowledging the problem, and in those conversations, focusing our energy on concrete things we can do to change the culture, to reform the department,” Sorce added, and “then attract candidates who want to be a part of that new culture and that new change.”

Experience in public service

Prior to coming to DVC, Sorce worked for five years with the New Politics Leadership Academy, where she facilitated leadership programs to help engage public service alumni—both military and civilian—in public administration and politics.

She has taken numerous other leadership roles in the community, such as serving as the co-chair and founder of the ACLU Solano County Chapter, and founder and chair of Vallejo’s Surveillance Advisory Board, the first commission to work with the Vallejo PD to enhance community safety.

Sorce, who previously served in the Peace Corps, is also a board member of the Glen Cove Community Association and vice chair of the United Democrats of Southern Solano County.   

The dean of social sciences at DVC, Obed Vazquez, said he supported Sorce without hesitation when she announced her run for mayor last fall.

“She is very organized, she’s dynamic,” said Vazquez. “I think she will do a great job.”

“As an economist she knows how to use money,” he added, and “I think it will be a tremendous help.” 

With a graduate degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in economics, Sorce said she always had an interest in public policy and working in public administration. 

“I don’t think we have enough folks in Vallejo that are coming from that policy background. I think that’s a skillset that is needed right now,” she said.

Government accountability 

One of Sorce’s primary goals is to tackle what she calls the irresponsible spending of city finances. Her plan, if elected, is to have an independent forensic analyst research the last five years of budgeting from the city to present a clear picture of its current finances.

The combination of an understaffed city council and poor discretionary spending has made the city’s current financial position “unacceptable and unsustainable,” according to Sorce’s campaign website. 

Sorce said as mayor she would start a process of reconciliation, to acknowledge the past mistakes of the public office and city officials while setting a better course for Vallejo’s future—one that values the community’s needs above all.

Police reform

Accountability in law enforcement has been another huge problem plaguing Vallejo in recent years, created great distrust in the community. Sorce said she plans to tackle this issue and become a public figurehead to support the city’s police reform. 

“What I have [seen] is a blatant and well known, well documented pattern and practice of misconduct,” said Sorce.

Some of this misconduct includes the destruction of evidence as well as officers bending their badges to celebrate fatal police shootings. 

In October 2023, California Attorney General Rob Bonta and the California Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Vallejo for its unconstitutional policing, and sought to implement a consent decree that would establish a court-appointed monitor to oversee reform. 

“The order basically said that it’s become clear to us that the City of Vallejo will not reform its police department on its own,” said Sorce.

She said she plans to work closely with the attorney general to exit state oversight as quickly as possible.  

Sorce said she believes that with bold reform, the Vallejo PD will be able to attract and retain good officers and staff to help rebuild trust between the community and the department.

“The reputation of the department is tanked, it’s trash, and unless we do something to change it we are never going to be able to attract and retain officers,” she said.

For Sorce, tackling the city’s most pressing problems is her way of making change in her own backyard.

“The biggest strength of Vallejo, the biggest thing that keeps us here is the people,” Sorce announced in her mayoral campaign kickoff speech last fall. 

“It’s a grit and spirit and a sense of community that you just don’t get anywhere else.”

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About the Contributor
Nate Wendling, Staff Writer

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