The Lake County Democratic Party has endorsed six candidates running for local offices: Jessica Pyska for Board of Supervisors in District 5, David Claffey for Clearlake City Council, Michael Green for Lakeport City Council, Natalie Higley and Gilbert Rangel for Kelseyville Unified School District Board, and Zabdy Neria for Konocti Unified School District Board.
The endorsement process is a rigorous one, according to the party’s Elections Chair, Sissa Harris. It involves each prospective candidate completing a questionnaire that asks how they would approach solving issues critical to our community. It also involves interviews conducted (via Zoom, this year) by the entire Elections Committee with each candidate. “I am grateful for the patience and hard work of everyone involved,” said Harris.
Board of Supervisors candidate for District 5 Jessica Pyska was endorsed by the Lake County Democratic Party before her primary in March, where she attained the majority of votes cast, but not enough to win outright and therefore is now in a run-off on the November ballot. Ms. Pyska has deep experience in two areas of priority for Lake County – fire resilience and economic development. She is a founding member of the Cobb Area Council and recently received a $200,000 economic development grant that is being strategically invested. She serves on several county-level committees and attends every meeting of the Board of Supervisors. To help feed the community during the current crisis, she raised almost $8,000 and 3 tons of food. She started two garden giveaway programs and continues to support local businesses during the COVID crisis. Ms. Pyska has also been endorsed by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry as well as State Senator Mike McGuire.
Clearlake City Council candidate David Claffey is a member of the Clearlake Marketing Committee and serves on the board of directors for the Highlands Senior Center. He is currently a business content strategist for ServiceNow. He brings youth, creativity, and enthusiasm to the role that city government can play in improving housing, tourism, and business in the city of Clearlake.
Lakeport City Council candidate Michael Green has served the City of Lakeport on the Planning Commission for three years. Planning and zoning issues have given him a good understanding of the many and complex issues facing the city. Twenty years of Mr. Green’s career was spent in journalism writing about local news. He also ran two businesses. Mr. Green brings a balanced approach to city government, understanding the needs of residents and the business community. He appreciates that Lakeport has many strengths, from the great people who live in the city, to the many recreational things to do in the area and a city staff that has very good working relationships. Mr. Green seeks to improve the city’s stock of affordable housing and looks for ways to safely increase jobs in the COVID-19 era.
Kelseyville Unified School District Board candidate Natalie Higley is new to running for office, but is not new to politics, serving as an AD4 delegate to the California Democratic Party. Ms. Higley is running for the School Board because of her interest in delivering a quality education safely to school children. As a single parent, she believes that she understands how challenging educational delivery can be for both school districts and parents in these challenging times. Ms. Higley is herself a product of the KUSD, and is grateful to the many teachers and classified staff who supported her educational journey. Ms. Higley has been active in the revitalization of the school garden project, an example of a successful school and community partnership, and one way parents can engage with their children’s’ learning. Ms. Higley is currently the political director for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 551.
Kelseyville Unified School District Board candidate Gilbert Rangel has 20 years experience working in the government and non-profit sector, focused on programming in the areas of youth development, education, and migrant communities. Currently Mr. Rangel serves as the Director for the Lake County AmeriCorps program which is focused on empowering youth to become successful in their education. Mr. Rangel’s vision for the Kelseyville Unified School District is for all stakeholders to work “Together Towards Progress” so that every student has equal access and opportunity to a meaningful education.
Konocti Unified School District school board candidate Zabdy Neria is an alumni of Lower Lake High School and is now acquiring her Master’s in Social Work. She is a children’s mental health specialist, provides therapy, and advocates for the youth of this county. Ms. Neria has dedicated her life to serving the most vulnerable populations in a variety of roles. She believes in the power of community and that “together we can achieve anything.”
“We have truly outstanding candidates,” said Lake County Democratic Party chair Deb Baumann. “Lake County is fortunate that such thoughtful, committed people are stepping up to the plate to run for office.”
Contact the Democratic Party of Lake County at 707-533-4885 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org