I was born in Los Angeles, but grew up in Evanston, just north of Chicago. I am the grandchild of Russian Jewish immigrants; my childhood memories include holiday meals with the extended family. I am now of the generation that hosts those same holiday meals. I was raised to remember the promise of this country for all. For my family, that promise was very real: my father became a professor of civil engineering, while my mother became a speech pathologist. My father passed his abiding curiosity about the world to me; my mother taught me to help to make the world a better place. I have endeavored to do so all through my life, whether in my family, my congregation, my city, or my country.
My husband Dave and I moved to the area in 1980, when he began working at the Lawrence Livermore Lab. A few years later, we moved from Pleasanton to Livermore with our two young daughters. We loved the mix of people from different backgrounds, the fact that we could walk to working farms and vineyards. As they grew up, my daughters participated in Del Arroyo 4-H; one is now the club leader. They attended Del Valle Fine Arts concerts at First Presbyterian; now my grandchildren attend Livermore Shakes’ plays in the vineyards.
Don Miller, the former mayor, was my first political mentor and, with him and others, I fought hard for Measure D, which created the urban growth boundary. That led to Livermore’s General Plan, which still guides our city in maintaining its unique character despite the many changes of the past 15 years.
We have belonged to the local synagogue, Congregation Beth Emek, since 1981. It was there that I learned to be a community leader. Through hard experience, I learned the importance of putting community first, making sure everyone has a voice, ensuring fiscal stability above all else, and learning how manage conflict and division. Most importantly, I learned the rewards of building a strong and stable community for all. I carry those lessons with me every day.
My participation in Judaism and Jewish life led to a PhD in Sociology from UC-Berkeley. You can read about my work and my book, Coming of Age in Jewish America: Bar and Bat Mitzvah Reinterpreted (Rutgers University Press 2016), on my professional website here. That research taught me to listen to the many voices that make up communities and to understand how communities manage difficult problems.
I came to run for office because I believe that we have a remarkably well-run city served by employees and public servants who have built a collaborative way of solving problems. The future holds challenges. Yet I believe that through community education and participation, through building connections between those with different views, we can meet those challenges successfully.