A Goodyear man is looking to segue from tacos to local politics after officially announcing his city council candidacy.
Juan Ojeda, 35, called himself an atypical Goodyear City Council candidate.
“I’m not a typical politician,” Ojeda said. “If I’m able to one day be able to work for my community and represent my constituents, that would be awesome. I’m excited, and if elected I’m going to do anything that I can to help with the education system and helping develop small business here within the city of Goodyear. Residents are going to get somebody who’s not going be afraid to roll up their sleeves. I promise you that.”
Born and raised in Arizona, Ojeda graduated from Peoria High School in 2005, completed his associate degree at Estrella Mountain Community College in 2012 and later earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from ASU.
Growing up, Ojeda said he had two goals in mind for his future: run for local office and own a business.
In 2016, he checked one of his goals off the bucket list when he opened Taco Head. What started as a small taco cart has transformed into a taco truck and a full-blown professional catering business.
Aside from claiming to have the best red salsa in town, Ojeda said being a small-business owner has perfectly prepared him for the opportunity to serve as a council member.
“I have been serving my local community for over five years and want to take it a step further by rolling up my sleeves and serving my community even more,” he said. “I’m honestly the black sheep coming into this race, but I really think I can do it because I’m already in tune with my local community. I see hundreds and hundreds of Goodyear residents on a weekly basis, who I have that relationship with through Taco Head.”
As a city council candidate and a Goodyear resident, Ojeda said residents should be proud of their hometown. In particular, he is excited about seeing Goodyear grow as a city council member.
If elected, Ojeda would like to see the city’s economic development expand as well. As a local businessman, he said he is the perfect advocate for small businesses in Goodyear.
“I want to help small-business development, as well as affordable housing for the marginalized population,” he said. “I not only went to school here, straight down the street at EMCC and Arizona State, but I am a business owner. I have that entrepreneurial spirit. I know what it takes to start something from the ground up, to be able to manage it and manage the budget, the finances.”
Ojeda said his time owning Taco Head prepared him for this candidacy.
“I’ve really been able to develop relationships with the local community because I do a lot of catering for different small businesses and residents, so through that I’m able to develop long-lasting relationships that go past me just doing their catering for them,” he said.
Win or lose, Ojeda said he intends to continue with Taco Head.
“I hope to one day have a fleet of taco trucks across the Valley,” he said.
“If I’m elected, I will continue with my business, and I don’t think that’s going to interfere with my responsibilities at all. If anything, it is going to help me. I learned a lot by being an entrepreneur and a small-business owner.”
As an early candidate, Ojeda said he hopes his commitment to hard work will win over the voters during election time.
“I come from a family of migrant farm workers. I know about working hard,” Ojeda said. “Residents should know that they’re going to be getting a local kid who has been serving the community. I want to work for the community that I grew up in. Residents of Goodyear are going to get somebody who is hard working, who is going to do what he says and who is really going to listen.”