Editor’s Note: Sarah Boyle is running for the District 5 seat on the Merced City Council in the Nov. 3 election. She is facing candidate Jeremy Martinez. The square-shaped District 5 is located in southwest / central Merced, bordered in the north by West Yosemite Avenue, G Street to the east, down south to Bear Creek and across to Highway 59.
The word “Merced” can be found all over Sarah Boyle’s life history, and also her outlook on positive changes to come.
“The future of Merced is what inspired me to run for District 5,” Boyle says. “I see the opportunities in Merced, and want to help others see them too.”
Boyle is a 32-year-old native Mercedian who was raised in a family with deep roots in the community. She is a recent graduate of the Leadership Merced program and serves as an ambassador for the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce. She currently works as a marketing representative for the TransCounty Title Company — which was founded in Merced decades ago and remains the only locally owned title firm in the county.
“I am honestly thankful I was part of Leadership Merced,” she says. “Learning more about the city I grew up in planted the seed to run for office one day. … I think this was also a longtime running thing. I have always loved Merced, even when I didn’t live in Merced. Besides that, I am exhausted from people badmouthing Merced. I have always said that if you never left Merced, you don’t see the true value and beauty that we have here. Are there faults? Sure. But those can be fixed. I look at it this way: Merced is the gold; we just have to keep digging to find it.”
If elected, the candidate says she wants to focus her leadership on improving public safety, job opportunities and economic development, and community relations.
She wants to continue some of the efforts Councilman Matt Serratto started in District 5, particularly the neighborhood initiatives such as work to create a Loughborough Committee, and utilization of the city’s Block Party Trailer program once the current pandemic subsides.
“As a female, I want to feel safe in my town,” Boyle says. “I want to be able to ride my bike, or go for a walk without fear. I know that I am not alone when I wish this for myself. I wish it for everyone in the city of Merced. I know that there are resources our police and fire departments lack, and I want to figure out how we can provide these. We need to help them so that they can continue to protect our city.”
More jobs, and more good paying jobs, are important to this candidate. “Whether it is in job growth in manufacturing or services, both have positive impacts on the economy,” she points out. “I also want to fill existing empty commercial buildings. There are roughly 27 commercial vacancies right now in District 5. I would like to implement some incentives to directly assist business who want to fill these vacancies and update the buildings. That being said, we have to be smart about this because I do not want to waive fees that would deter funding city operations like Merced Police or Fire Department.”
Regarding COVID-19, Boyle says she wants to ensure that the city is safely opening up; however, she is very concerned for businesses in Merced to stay open. “We need to have a balance between protecting public health and restoring our local economy,” she says.
Boyle also wants to improve the way the city communicates with residents about community events and announcements. She says she will work to improve quality of life by encouraging doctors to open their practice here, and work to create more youth activities and family entertainment.
“Homelessness is a clear issue here in Merced,” she adds, “but we need to work together with other entities, partners and organizations to tackle this.”
Sarah Boyle is the daughter of Steve and Phyllis Boyle, also natives of Merced.
“My dad was raised on a small family farm on Childs Ave and my mom was raised on a dairy farm in the Le Grand area,” she says.
Steve Boyle was a longtime welder who specialized in iron work for residential and commercial properties. He also taught welding at Merced College for 16 years. Phyllis worked in several administration positions in the local agricultural industry.
“Both of my parents believed in being part of the community. My dad has been a judge at the FFA Field Days that is held at Merced Community College. My mom has been a member of the Merced Chapter of CWA for 32 years; was co-president and vice president in the ’90s and has been a member of the Gateway Quilters’ Guild since 2004, and currently serves as the guild’s president. … My parents have always believed that you need to work for your goals and have passed this on to me.”
As a youngster, Sarah Boyle was a Girl Scout who would sell cookies in front of Raley’s and visit Hylond Healthcare to play games with seniors. She was an active member of Lancer’s 4-H. Her first job was at Ryno Burger during the Merced County Fair.
She attended Out Lady of Mercy School, Cruickshank School, and graduated from Merced High in 2006. She went to Merced College and then transferred with an AA degree and a few specialized certificates to Fresno State University. In 2012, she earned a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations.
She has worked at FSU’s Department of Viticulture and Enology, the Fresno State Winery, a Fresno-based accounting firm, the Toca Madera Winery in Madera, and the External Relations Department at UC Merced from 2016 to 2019.
Boyle was also involved in the First Tee of Fresno as the annual Golf Tournament co-committee chair in 2014. And in 2015, she joined Fresno’s Leading Young Professionals (FLYP) Board of Directors as the community outreach director.
In her current position at TransCounty Title Co., Boyle is “building relationships with real estate agents, brokers and lenders on a daily basis.”
“I feel blessed because I work with the people who are selling Merced and who are also extremely motivated individuals. Being involved in the community is innate part of my current position as well.”
Since returning to Merced and moving into District 5 in 2017, Boyle has led and volunteered in numerous service activities, including the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce, the City of Merced Charter Review Committee and Merced Women Unite.
“I co-led the formation of “Helping One Woman: Merced,” which aims to provide support to women who have endured irreplaceable loss, one person at a time,” she says. “To me, this is what brings the Merced community together, by helping one another.”
Boyle says she is proud that Merced has been her family’s home for nearly 100 years.
“I have that frame of reference of ‘you can remember when,’” she says.
The candidate says the same skills she uses in her daily life — tack and diplomacy, and working towards a better goal — are things that are needed in elected office.
“Something that I have been told in past positions that I have held, is that I am the ‘glue’ that keep things and people together to keep moving forward,” she says. “It wasn’t until later that I was told this is called a ‘Linchpin Personality’ — someone who can solve a problem, create a positive change and get people unstuck. So, I utilized this as well as my campaign logo: The “O” in my printed name appears as a linchpin.”