GPS graduate wins San Clemente city council seat

MAS-IA graduate Mark Enmeier shares his ideas for tackling the complex challenges facing the city

Mark Enmeier ’21 never intended to run for public office. 

But when Enmeier, a Master of Advanced Studies in International Affairs (MAS-IA) graduate, heard about the San Clemente City Council members’ push last summer to designate the city as a “Sanctuary for Life” city while simultaneously trying to do away with ballot boxes and mail-in ballots, he felt the call to take a stand.

“I was honestly a little bit thrust into it,” he said. “No matter your thoughts on the issues — which, trust me, I have some — they were outside the purview of our city and had no place in our town,” Enmeier said. “When my friends found out what my background was and my history with the city, they encouraged me to run.”

Enmeier, who has lived in San Clemente for most of his life and has worked as a history teacher at San Clemente High School for the past 15 years, filed to run for a San Clemente City Council seat during the last week they were accepting forms, and in November of this year, he won that seat. He said he hopes to refocus the city and unite his constituents in finding solutions to problems, no matter their political ideologies. 

“As a coastal town, San Clemente is facing an existential threat as our beaches are being eroded,” Enmeier explained. “I want to work with scientists, engineers and public officials to find ways to mitigate that sand loss. We also need to find comprehensive solutions to housing and homelessness, increase access to public transportation, and create safer roads for bicyclists and pedestrians.”

And, he added, he plans to rely heavily on the skills he gained through his coursework at GPS, where he focused on public policy to tackle the area’s complex challenges. 

“All of the research and analytical tools that I learned at GPS are what I hope to carry over into my political career,” Enmeier said. 

Enmeier encouraged current GPS students to take full advantage of their time in graduate school, as you never know how the toolkit you acquire can be put to good use.

“My advice would be to take advantage of every learning opportunity that presents itself and to lean in to your peers and professors for help and advice,” he added.