Councilmember Lilia R. Leon has lived in Commerce for over 64 years, migrating from Chihuahua, Mexico. Councilmember Leon was raised in Commerce and she raised her son Richard here, too. Richard and his wife Nicky Ann are now raising their two daughters, Isabella and Angelina in Commerce.
Councilmember Leon graduated from Bell Gardens High School and received an Associate of Arts Degree in Accounting from East Los Angeles College. In addition, Councilmember Leon holds a Certificate in Executive Education in Public Policy from USC Sole Price School of Public Policy. She brings to the position more than 50 years of experience working in administrative and financial positions.
Councilmember Leon was first elected to the Commerce City Council in November 1998 and served as Mayor from 1999-2000 designating her as the last Mayor of the Century and new Mayor of the Millennium. During that time, Councilmember Leon led the City Council in adopting a resolution encouraging the creation of a mentor program to benefit Commerce youth.
She also directed staff to initiate a resolution which requires vendor contracts to be renewed every five years, ensuring the City would continue to receive the best contract for their services.
She maintained an active role as Chairperson on the Education Commission from 2002-2008. Councilmember Leon established the College Fair in order to provide an opportunity for the youth of Commerce to acquire firsthand opportunities and resources to attend universities. The College Fair, which just celebrated its 11th anniversary, hosted 1,000 participants.
Councilmember Leon was re-elected in 2008, 2009 and 2013. Councilmember Leon served as Mayor in 2012-2013 and as the City’s 55th Mayor in 2015-2016. Over the years, She forged strong networks with both business and community leaders alike. A longtime supporter of the Commerce Industrial Council, she has been an integral part of the partnerships established with many companies in Commerce. She has also been instrumental in acquiring thousands of dollars in donations, especially during the recession, to prevent programs and events from being eliminated.
Councilmember Leon attributes her community involvement to her participation in the Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce), whose motto is "Individual Growth through Community Service." Councilmember Leon's efforts have earned her statewide recognition by the Junior Chamber of Commerce, as well as the honor of receiving her International Senatorship #54729. Councilmember Leon graduated from the HOPE (Hispanas Organized for Political Equality) Institute in 2000.