Editor's note: This is the one in a series of pieces about the candidates for Santa Cruz County District 2 Supervisor. Check back daily for another candidate Q&A.
How does your background make you uniquely qualified to be the Santa Cruz County Supervisor? What distinguishes you from the other candidates?
I’ve dedicated my entire professional career to public service. I was fortunate to attend Cabrillo and UC Santa Cruz, earning my degree with Honors in History before attending Georgetown for my Masters in Public Policy. I’ve worked for Congressman Sam Farr and Senator Tom Daschle as well as the White House Council of Economic Advisers. For most of the last decade I’ve served as the Crime Analyst and Public Information Officer for the Santa Cruz Police Department, managing a $23 million budget.
I am a believer in improving community access to their local government. This past year I launched the police department’s iPhone app, the first consumer law enforcement mobile app in the country that holds a suite of online interactive programs including crime mapping, reporting, and a blog. In addition, I brought a bilingual online crime reporting system, Facebook and Twitter feed to the agency to ensure transparency and access to our department for our community.
I believe that government can do important things for a community especially if it keeps the voices of the community heard. As such, our campaign is not accepting any special interest or Political Action Committee (PAC) money. I want to ensure that we are a part of a truly grassroots effort.
What do you see as the main issues facing Santa Cruz County, and how do you intend to address them?
These are difficult economic times and we’ve seen how cuts can easily place vital services at risk. We’ve seen declines to infrastructure, threats to human services funding and significant strains in public safety.
I see the largest challenge facing the Board in the coming years to be around economic sustainability and how to provide the services that our community deserves. Local elections truly matter; decisions by the Board of Supervisors in the coming years will determine what our community will become and how we prioritize funding. I plan to focus my efforts on:
• Repairing our roads, sidewalks and highway
• Keeping our neighborhoods safe
• Maintaining our parks and farmland
I manage a $23 million dollar budget for a public agency. I have seen how cuts impact local governments. Yet, our agency has still been able to innovate and improve services. We’ve leveraged technology, embraced innovation and been willing to tackle large issues. I’m confident the challenges we face are not insurmountable and these services can be provided even with budgetary strains. As elected leaders, we need to provide clarity of vision and a commitment to tackling large problems over scoring easy political points.
We need to provide a willingness to work together to create a sustainable economic model that ensures that our roads can be improved, kids have safe routes to school and parks to play in and that our environmental beauty is preserved.