Costa Mesa’s first-ever directly elected mayor. She is not only highly accomplished but one of the most accessible and thoughtful public servants of this time, serving Costa Mesa for over 15 years. She is now running for California’s 37th Senate District seat in 2020, while also ushering California’s progressive agenda and many firsts, to include appointing the first female city manager. She is a passionate public servant and attorney. Her holistic approach includes a personal commitment to address all areas of citizenry, she shares,  “It’s about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness… sometimes we forget about happiness.”

Q: Why is it important for women to run for office? “I think that it certainly makes a difference to have women at the table to bring balance to the discussion. There’s no doubt that we have a different perspective. I think that having more women at the table allows for issues to come into consideration that impacts us all: childcare, after school programs, maternity leave and access to higher-paying jobs. Something as simple as the tampon and diaper tax are important to have women in the legislature. It brings issues to the forefront… these are small examples that will help save families money on things that are necessities, not luxuries. There are 40 state Senators in California, and there are only 10 women right now who hold state Senate office. In the history of California, for 200 years, there have only been 37 state Senators, out of more than 4000 representatives. That is why I am running for state Senate in 2020.” Her major initiatives share a thoughtful philosophy that everyone matters and effectively has proven to have solution-based initiatives in effect, such as the homelessness issue. “On April 5th, we opened our first homeless shelter. It’s not like any other shelter in California. What we did was a private/public model where we have a combination of our city staff workers who are social workers and law enforcement working there, in conjunction with our private nonprofit Mercy Health partnership that operates the shelter.”  

Q: What inspires you? “Hard-working people inspire me. I love to connect people and problem solve. What inspires me is just helping people because I feel it’s important to use my influence to help people and that’s just what I do. I know that we should be helping people and that is the role of elected officials: to solve community problems, keep our communities safe, rebuild our infrastructure and be a resource to help people. Women have to support other women for women to be empowered in meaningful ways. We have the power to support women in all their forms. I’ll make sure that we embrace the fact that women are a diverse group; we come in all different shapes and sizes and colors and faiths. We bring a passion for the arts, dance, music and photography. I also strongly believe in funding the arts to support Art Education and support creative and innovative businesses. If we do a better job of supporting Art Education at all levels, we will see more creativity and innovation, because we are investing in citizenry; it is an investment that has a return… It’s important so that we are competitive in business in the marketplace and internationally, California has so many ideas to continue to inspire creativity in our students. I really believe that having access to arts and music makes for a more stable and happy citizen.”


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