Above, Youth Reporters sit with 3rd district council member Suzie Price. This profile is part of our ongoing city leader series featuring interviews and collaborations led by Youth Reporters ages 15 to 25. More to come. Photo via Suzie Price’s Facebook Page.
Whoever said that politicians were “all work and no play” had never met the councilwoman of district three, Susan (Suzie) Price. In the midst of her cleaning up her district and focusing on administering a policy to help decrease the rise of homelessness in district three, in her downtime she loves to dance.
Although before Price became the influential councilwoman we all know today, she was working as a prosecutor and a deputy city attorney in Orange County which is where she found her love of politics. She said she was “exposed to city governments and municipality and learned the challenges of working in that kind of space.”
When her children started school in the Long Beach Unified School District she volunteered to join the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and there is where she learned “what it entails to organize a community and getting people interested in and supporting certain concepts and also about improving the community.”
One of the women in the PTA was involved in a lot of local politics and she suggested to Price that she run for the position of council member when the seat opened. Running for the council member position was never something she thought of doing. Price went into the 2014 district race expecting to lose because she had entered it on the last day to register and she felt the other four candidates were more known. Fortunately for her, her worries were misplaced and she ended up winning right at the primary, “which had not happened before in all of the history of local government.” She avoided a runoff by gaining 55 percent of the vote.
Being a woman in politics she also faced many challenges and discrimination. She was managing a full-time job and her now part-time job which to some in the public, became a problem even though her predecessor also had a full-time job running a big business. Because he was a man, Price felt, they never asked him how he was able to maintain both. When Price got the job she was asked a lot “Oh, you’re gonna’ keep your day job and you have kids? How are you gonna balance everything?” Price heard this so much and it was beginning to irritate her. She was hoping for more important questions: What about district issues? She preferred controversial questions on city matters, not gendered questions.
Price’s late grandmother is her role model. She said that her grandmother “was a single mom in an era where it was not normal for women to get jobs or divorce their husbands.” Price mentions that she has a picture of her grandmother hanging up in her city council office over her balcony. Price said, “It’s a really inspirational photo for me because I just think about how hard she must have worked to get [her school teacher job] and to keep that position and to earn the respect of the men around her and to do it with two kids.”
Price in her career has accomplished many things but she says that one of her many highlights of her career was working as a prosecutor. She has been a prosecutor for 19 years and she has had the opportunity to handle extremely difficult cases. But they had the same outcome. At the end of the trial, when the jury came back with a verdict finding favor in the victim’s case, she got to hug them she knew she had done something right. Price said that she always tells herself, “To the judges I’m just another prosecutor but to those victims’ families who lost a loved one — especially in homicide cases, me fighting for their child, their mother, their brother, their cousin, whoever, it’s going be a part of their life history.”