Meet Juanita.

Accomplished. Driven. Ready.


Juanita Perez Williams is a Mexican-American, whose grandparents migrated from Guanajuato, Mexico. Her parents played an important role in her life, always struggling to make ends meet however devoted to activism in the farmworkers movement. As a child, Juanita participated in one of the first Early Head-Start programs, was a recipient of free student lunches, attended college through the Equal Opportunity Program and in 1986 received her undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego. After receiving her law degree, Juanita served five-years in the Navy Judge Advocates Program (JAGC) where she handled high profile criminal cases, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

Upon completion of her military service, Juanita relocated with her family to Upstate New York. In 2001 she accepted a legal position with Syracuse University and soon thereafter was promoted to Associate Dean of Students. Juanita also served as an adjunct professor teaching legal issues in higher education. During this time, Juanita was selected by then Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to be a member of the New York State Military Selection Review Board. In 2008, Juanita was appointed by then Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to serve New York State as an Assistant Attorney General.

In 2010, Juanita was appointed by the Mayor of Syracuse to serve as Corporation Counsel and lead the city’s legal office. Prior to announcing her candidacy, Juanita served as the Regional Director for the New York State Department of Labor.

Juanita is the mother of 4 grown children and a grandmother. She sits on several Central New York Boards including Onondaga County Catholic Charities, La Liga (Spanish Action League), Clear Path for Veterans, CNY Workforce Investment Board, Bishop Ludden High School Trustee, is co-founder of UMEA, the new minority chamber of commerce, and is a proud member of the Valley American Legion.