The race to lead San Ramon officially has its first non-incumbent candidate throw their hat into the ring, with the announcement that resident Luz María Gómez has declared her candidacy for the City Council's District 1 seat.
A resident with an extensive degree of experience working for regional government agencies, Gómez says her priorities for San Ramon will revolve around responsibly shaping growth, reducing traffic, promoting safer streets and neighborhoods, listening to residents and ensuring the city invests in developing new park lands.
"All my education and professional experience prepared me well to serve District 1. From teaching nutrition to the community to managing complex programs and budgets, my work has focused on improving quality of life for the community," Gómez said on her campaign website.
"As your council member I promise to partner with our neighborhoods to give residents a voice in shaping our growth. I will advocate for policies that enhance our quality of life, promote community health, and protect our natural resources. I will put forward policies that protect the character of our unique community while preparing responsibly for our future," she added.
Announced on her Twitter account on May 9, Gómez is the first candidate to publicly launch their City Council campaign; however, she was preceded by former City Council candidate Aparna Madireddi who announced her candidacy for Mayor of San Ramon in December.
Prioritizing the natural resources available to San Ramon residents and neighboring visitors, Gómez said one of her top priorities will be to assist in the development of the former Mudd's Restaurant property and San Catanio Creek area into a public park.
"District 1 is home to one of the most unique, wild and beautiful natural areas in our city," Gómez said. "I will strongly advocate for the city to play a major role and invest in the development of the proposed park along with residents and the new San Ramon Nature Park Foundation."
In addition to responsibly managing the city's growth and ensuring public voices are heard, Gómez said she will prioritize reducing traffic congestion in the city by utilizing her experience as a county official to work with neighboring agencies.
"I will work with the community and regional transportation partners to promote best practices for traffic management. I will propose strategies that improve public transit, promote smart land use strategies, and fight to enhance bike and pedestrian facilities. I will be a strong advocate for San Ramon’s priorities with regional transportation authorities," she said.
Using her diverse experience as an advocate for public health and welfare, Gómez also promises to promote healthy living among residents, supporting policies that in turn support healthy lifestyles.
"As a public health professional, I was trained to think about prevention, to consider the big picture, and to look ahead. As your council member, I promise to bring my years of experience making communities healthier to promote policies and practices that will make San Ramon the healthiest community it can be -- in every sense of the word," Gómez said.
A long-time public servant in a variety of fields mostly at the county level, Gómez has worked as director of the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program in the South Bay where she oversaw the "nutritional well-being" of 1,500 low-income women and their young children and as a manager at the Contra Costa Public Health Department.
She also said she has worked as a chief of staff for a county supervisor, where she led the charge on a number health, education, climate and environmental initiatives, in addition to serving as county liaison to three communities.
More recently, she has worked for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District as their community engagement manager, where she worked with environmental justice communities to develop plans that would improve air quality in the region.
She also graduated from the University of California Davis, where she studied Community Nutrition, and earned a master's degree in Public Health from the University of California Berkeley.
The November 2020 election will also mark the first time the San Ramon City Council will seek to elect candidates on a district-based voting method, as opposed to the previous process of at-large voting.
As a resident of San Ramon's first district, Gómez will be competing for councilman Scott Perkins' seat, whose four-year term is set to expire at the end of the year. Primarily encompassing San Ramon's northwestern region, District 1 is roughly located west of Alcosta Boulevard and north of Montevideo School Park.
Over in District 4, which primarily covers a large section of the Dougherty Valley along Bollinger Canyon Road, Councilman Phil O'Loane is also up for reelection. However, no resident has publicly declared their candidacy for that seat.
To learn more about Gómez and her campaign to join the San Ramon City Council, visit her campaign website at www.luzforsanramon.com.