Nirenbergs open up in first television interview as city's First Family

The Nirenberg family opened up to KENS 5 for their first television interview since winning the mayoral election.

SAN ANTONIO - Life was busy for the Nirenberg family even before Ron became Mayor. 

Both Ron and his wife, who goes by her maiden name, Erika Prosper, have full-time careers and are involved parents with 9-year-old Jonah.

Known for his focused and measured remarks, the Mayor's style contrasts with his wife's spontaneity.

As the Mayor showed Prosper his new travel charger, she laughed and called him a nerd.

"Your Dad is all excited because he got a travel charger," Prosper told Jonah.

Prosper spends her workdays inside the Arsenal, corporate offices of HEB. Active in the community, she's serving as Chair-elect for the Hispanic Chamber.

The couple makes it work with a division of duties: she cooks and he does all the cleanup.

In fact, Prosper had Nirenberg sign a contract before they married that he would do all the kitchen clean-up and laundry.

Dinner tonight includes fresh guacamole with plenty of jalapenos.

"I was the 2-time reigning champion of the kosher barbecue jalapeno eating contest," said Nirenberg.

As dinner cooked, we sat down to talk on a sectional that had been shredded by their rescue French bulldog, Moses.

"This is terrible. She will not me replace this couch we still have the dog who will destroy the couch," said Nireneberg.

"And because I love it!  This is what you call an All-American couch of a family that has a dog," said Prosper.
Moses stayed in his crate while we spoke.

Next to it - the treadmill the former amateur body builder uses most mornings.

When asked how much he could bench, the Mayor laughed.

"Now or back then?  I think my regulation max was 350, which doesn't impress people who actually do it, but I'm glad it impresses some people." he chuckled.

The first couple of San Antonio are Texans - but they met in Philadelphia.

They met in graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Prosper was assigned to show Nirenberg the campus.

"By the end of the night I had declared to a cab driver that I was going to marry her," said Nirenberg.

"And I promptly forgot all about him. We didn't meet again until a year later when he was enrolled in the program," said Prosper.

Ron asked her out but it took some convincing.

"He was rocking this 70's vibe with long shaggy, curly hair," said Prosper.

"It is true that she made me sign a contract that I would cut my hair before she would agree to date me.  We still have the contract," said Nirenberg.

"The next day he showed up with short hair and that was it for me," said Prosper.

Three months later they were engaged and married in 2001.

Nirenberg grew up in Austin and attended Trinity University. After grad school, he ran the University's radio station.

"I grew up in the Rio Grande Valley. I am a migrant farm worker," said Prosper.

She did not envision a life as the first lady of San Antonio.

"My goals were not to work in the fields. When you grow up and you get up at 3 am or 4 am and you're in the truck at 5 and you're out in the sun working all day all you know is I want to figure out something else." said Prosper.

That something else has now led to politics.

"It's what happens when you say as a regular person, I want to make a change. Next thing you know there's a guy with a name that's really hard to pronounce who had no political capitol elected councilman," laughed Prosper.

Now 4 year later, he's the Mayor.

It's a life that always includes 9-year-old Jonah.

"It has been happy!" said Jonah.

Dinner at the Nirenberg home begins with this:

"Alright, highs and lows," directs Prosper to Jonah and her husband.

Discussing the day's highlights and low points and it was here that their desire to serve the city began.

"All of this started with a dream. It was a long shot pipe dream.  When you have other people give you their hope, their dream their time their support,  you can't help but be inspired and say let's go for it," said Prosper.

"My goal for San Antonio is to build a resilient city that allows kids like Jonah grow up and want to stay here. This is truly a city where if you have passion and initiative and you have drive to improve you can serve," said Nirenberg. 

As he lays out his vision for San Antonio, both Nirenberg and Prosper believe it's one the city will embrace.

"How can you not hope that other people have the same inspiration and they want to change their city the same way, too," said Prosper.

© 2017 KENS-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment