Meet the Fil-Am mayor with a Hello Kitty obsession

DUARTE, Calif.  – In the foothill town of Duarte known as the City of Health, a Filipina sits at the helm and isn’t afraid to show off her fun side.

Quezon City-born Tzeitel Paras-Caracci has been on the City Council since 2001, first elected at 29-years old and she was elected to her second term as mayor this past November.

“At an early age, I was exposed to public service, civic service, so just one day I said I should think about running for office and people encouraged me. It’s serving our residents and our community and doing the best we can and being able to share our personal lives as well our public lives with the rest of the residents,” said Paras-Caracci.

While the town of some 21,000 residents is known for its medical research facilities and the historic Route 66 Highway, Paras-Caracci continues to strive to improve not just her own city, but other agencies.

While many have asked if she will seek higher office, she prefers to approach her political life local and hands on.

“I’m looking forward to presenting a woman’s business and community expo come in April and then come summer and fall working with our local county library as well as with schools in providing additional programming for students and our young people,” she said.

The 42-year old believes being involved with community has kept her on the council.

The avid Hello Kitty fan recently launched a month-long exhibit at the Duarte Historical Museum honoring the iconic Sanrio character. Most of the items are from her own personal collection.

“One of the amazing things about Duarte is the small-town feel. We’re all a big family and to able to share something like this, as personal here at the museum, here in the community is one of the big things about this city,” she added.

The mother of one admits the display is only half her collection, a hobby that her one-year old son is already enjoying.

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