Justin Cummings was elected as Third District Supervisor in November 2022 and is the first African American to serve on the County Board of Supervisors.
Justin grew up on the South Side of Chicago and attended Eastern Illinois University where he received a bachelors in Spanish and Biology. In 2007, Justin moved to Santa Cruz to pursue a Ph.D. at UCSC in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. His Ph.D. research focused on invasive species management and tropical forest restoration in Panama.
After receiving his Ph.D. in 2013, he moved to Miami, FL to conduct post-doctoral research at Florida International University studying the impacts of climate change on the Florida Everglades. Since returning to Santa Cruz in 2015, he has helped create numerous non-profits at UCSC including the UCSC Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program, which focused on preparing early career college students from diverse backgrounds to become leaders in the field of environmental conservation as well as the UCSC CITRIS Initiative for Drone Education and Research, which trains students from diverse backgrounds on the use and application of drones for good.
In 2017, Justin began engaging in local politics, spurred by the housing affordability crisis and the inability of young working professionals and families to afford to live in Santa Cruz. In 2018 he was elected to the Santa Cruz City Council, receiving the most votes of any other candidate on the ballot. In 2020, Justin was the first black man appointed to serve as Mayor of Santa Cruz. As Mayor, Justin provided leadership during a global pandemic, social unrest after the murder of George Floyd, and the CZU fires.
As a renter, environmental scientist, and young professional in Santa Cruz, Justin has placed diversity, equity, inclusion, and environmental protection at the forefront of the decision-making process. As a Councilmember and Mayor, he fought for policies that increased tenant protections, increased the percentage of affordable housing in new developments, championed policies to reduce carbon emissions and protect our environment, brought the community together with law enforcement to address policies related to use of force, transparency, and accountability; and helped expand COVID testing capacity Countywide, among many other accomplishments.
As County Supervisor, Justin is dedicated to increasing housing affordability, tenant protections, disaster preparedness, homeless and mental health services, rebuilding from the CZU fires, infrastructure along our north coast, and building our rail and trail, among many others.
Supervisor Cummings represents the Board of Supervisors on the following regional agencies and boards:
- Arts Council Santa Cruz County
- Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments Board of Directors (Alternate)
- City/County Coordination Committee (2x2)
- Community Action Board
- Criminal Justice Council of Santa Cruz County
- Integrated Waste Management Local Task Force
- Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council
- Local Agency Formation Commission
- Central Coast Community Energy Policy Board of Directors (Alternate)
- Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Task Force
- Monterey Bay Air Resources Board of Directors
- Pajaro Regional Flood Management Agency (Alternate)
- Santa Cruz County Children's Network
- Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission
- Stream Enhancement Trust Fund Board of Trustees
- UCSC Long Range Development Plan Working Group
- Visit Santa Cruz County Board of Directors
Supervisor Cummings and his staff can be contacted as follows:
- 701 Ocean Street, Room 500, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
- (831) 454-2200
Justin Cummings: send email
Rachel Dann: send email
Sandy Brown: send email
Andy Schiffrin: send email
Click here for a map of the Third District.