top of page

Meet Sue Zwahlen

Sue Zwahlen


A longtime Modesto resident, Sue Zwahlen is known as one of our area’s most effective and respected leaders, advocating for better schools, improved healthcare and higher paying jobs for our communities. She was elected Mayor of Modesto in February 2021.


With an emergency room nursing career spanning 40 years, Sue has a solid understanding of our healthcare system and will provide a voice of experience in these uncertain times. Sue is a strong advocate for delivering efficient and evidence based care to patients, compassionate end of life care, and appropriate treatment for mentally ill minors. 


As a mom to six children who attended local public schools, Sue knew firsthand the challenges our schools faced. When she was elected to Modesto City School Board in 2009, Sue promised to improve graduation rates and lower the number of school suspensions. During her tenure on the school board, the district’s graduation rates increased from 75% to 87.6% today, and suspension rates dropped by 8.4% to an all new low of 4.46%.


Sue is a fourth generation Californian from Portuguese and Swiss-German immigrant families, who settled in Modesto in the early 1900s and ran successful dairy farms. Sue understands the importance of agriculture to our economy and the struggle families face running a business.

Sue was raised to believe that each of us must do all we can to safeguard and improve our neighborhoods and communities. For this, she has received numerous prestigious recognitions, including the 2016 Stanislaus County Woman of the Year Award, Latino Community Roundtable’s Latino of the Year Award, and the Modesto City Schools Character Education Award.


Sue and her husband, Lynn, live in Modesto where Lynn began practicing dentistry in 1982, and served for 32 years as a football coach at Modesto’s Davis and Downey High Schools. All six of their children attended Modesto public schools through grades K-12. They have 13 grandchildren.

bottom of page