Watsonville Mayor Luis Alejo was born and raised in Watsonville, and his family came to work in the agricultural fields of the Salinas, Santa Clara and Pajaro Valleys as migrant farmworkers in the 1950s. He has served on numerous city, county and federal commissions, including the Watsonville Planning Commission, the Santa Cruz County Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission, and the California Advisory Committee of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.
Luis graduated with honors from UC Berkeley with dual bachelors degrees in political science and Chicano studies, obtained his master's of education degree (Ed.M) from Harvard University in administration, planning and social policy, and received his law degree (J.D.) from UC Davis School of Law.
After finishing his graduate and professional studies, Luis returned to his hometown of Watsonville to work as a legal aid attorney where he championed the rights of working families throughout the Monterey Bay area. He now works as a staff attorney for the Monterey County Superior Court, where he assists thousands of self-represented litigants throughout Monterey County who cannot afford private attorneys.
Luis was previously a Jesse M. Unruh Fellow for the California State Assembly at the State Capital in Sacramento where he worked as a legislative aide for Assemblymember Manny Diaz (D-San Jose). In the 2002 legislative session, he drafted and staffed numerous bills and resolutions, and earned a reputation for being an effective and hardworking staffer.
He also worked as a research assistant for the Harvard Civil Rights Project in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he worked on numerous education equity issues. Luis is also a former high school teacher that worked with "at risk" high school students, and is currently a California State Advisory Committee member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights (nominated by former California Supreme Court Justice and former Commission Vice-Chairman Cruz Reynoso).