I was born and raised in a small town in Massachusetts. My three brothers and I grew up understanding what it means to be a first generation American. Our father came to the United States as a refugee from World War II Germany. He came to the US full of energy and commitment to build a new life. He worked hard to become a U.S citizen. Our mother was first generation US citizen in her family. Her father worked in agriculture buying and selling local produce and was able to send his three children to college. Our parents did not have an easy life, but hard work and commitment to family allowed them to build a stable base and allowed them to see their children pursue their dreams.
I have a Bachelor of Science (BS) and Master’s Degree (MS) in the Earth Sciences. I started my career with a strong interest in the intersection of Land Use and our fragile coast line. I spent 8 years with the US Geological Survey working in the Marine Division. Although this work was interesting, I was drawn to the world of Land Use and Planning. I worked in County government from 1984 to 1995 (Santa Cruz and Ventura Counties) where I learned a great deal about Land Use, Zoning, General Plans, CEQA and what it means to have good communication between local government and the community. My years in County government gave me a solid base and understanding of how local government works, both at the staff level and as a resource for the community.
My husband Brooks and I have lived in Napa for 24 years and we raised our children here. In 2002 I started my own small business as a Land Use Planner. I have served on many volunteer boards and non-profit organizations in Napa, which has given me insight into both the challenges we face and the depth and commitment of our community. A few examples are: Napa Resource Conservation District, Napa County General Plan Steering Committee, Napa Valley Economic Development Corporation, and Leadership Napa Valley. I firmly believe that Napa has the tools and expertise to build wonderful community and overcome obstacles along the way.
When we arrived in Napa in 1995, it was a different place than it is today. Our 1998 General Plan said that Napa has generally had more workers who live in Napa than incommuters who find employment here. How things have changed! Over the past 2 decades, Napa developed a robust tourist based economy, which brought significant revenue and jobs to the City. This growth also contributed to an environment where more people now commute into Napa than existed in 1998. Then in March of 2020, the global COVID 19 pandemic became our new normal. Tourism revenue has all but disappeared and we have many residents without a job. Recovering from this tragic pandemic is now our #1 priority.
As we navigate back to a “new normal” we need to both ensure the health and safety of our residents and build back a vibrant and sustainable economy. We must take lessons from these tragic events to build a new Napa that will be better in all ways, a sustainable economy, a cleaner environment and strong community connections that celebrate our diversity. We are in the process of updating our General Plan which will help guide Napa’s development for the next 20 years. The experiences we are facing right now, during this pandemic will help shape this plan. I am confident that my 35 years of experience working in Land Use and Planning will be an asset to the City Council as we work together to ensure that Napa not only survives but thrives.