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HEALTH MINDED  . .

Mayor Helene Schneider

LADY MAYOR STEPS UP TO BAT FOR A SEAT IN CONGRESS

Schneider Will Support All the People as a Congresswoman for 24th District

by Bonnie Carroll

Helene Schneider was first elected to the Santa Barbara City Council in 2003 and is currently serving her second term. Prior to this position, she was appointed by Mayor Harriet Miller to serve as Commissioner for the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara. As a full time resident in Santa Barbara for over nine years, I see her Mayoral style as authentic, and as one that inspires, and motivates people. Her ability to work successfully with the council members, and the local citizens has earned her praise and real respect.

When asked if there were people in her childhood who gave her a push toward the political path she is currently traveling she just smiled and said “my mom did, however, I was not aware at the time that this was happening.” My mom and dad separated when I was two years old, and we lived in New York City. When both my parents remarried, I was very happy to find myself with a large extended family. I was inspired by my mother because following the divorce she took control to create a life that worked for us by becoming a practicing psychiatrist, which was very progressive for a woman at that time.

It was the radical 70s and my mother grew up on a farm, the eldest of a large family. My Grandfather believed women should be nurses or secretaries, although my grandmother had a masters degree, which was very unusual for women of her day. I also had a Professor in college who had a powerful influence on my thinking and who left a mark in my mind that it had taken women 175 years to get the vote.

Schneider earned her B.A. from Skidmore College, received a professional certification in Human Resources Management from UCSB Extension in 1997 and passed the Professional in Human Resources National Certification Examination in 1998. She served as President of the Santa Barbara Human Resources Association in 2001 and received the State Leadership Award from the CA State Council of the Society of Human Resources Management for her work.

When asked about the real or perceived glass ceiling for woman today Schneider said it's better today for Millenniums but is clearly still an issue for women. She recalled when she went to get a job while in college at Lake George Resort and we she checked female on the request form she was immediately sent to housekeeping to work as a maid, while all the young men became bellman and made big tips. Mayor Schneider's involvement in Santa Barbara includes being a member the Santa Barbara Political Committee for women, where she served as President in 1999 and 2000, and served on the Board of Directors for seven years. She also represents the League of California Cities Channel Counties Division as a member of their statewide Environmental Quality Policy committee, which reviews state legislation as it relates to environmental policy and municipal government.

Mayor Support Girls Inc.

I inquired what lessons she felt had become most valuable during her political career in Santa Barbra, and she shared how important it is to be a good listener at public hearings. She feels it is imperative to get all the facts and see the full picture before a fair decision can be made. Also, practicing patience to insure a better decision with open communication. She views inaction as a decision, and a bad one. There are times you do not agree with someone, but with open communication and patience you can work with them for a positive conclusion.

Regarding her approach to the seat Congressman Lois Capps is vacating in the 24th District the Mayor said some of the issues she would focus on would effect seniors and health care. She feels these issues are paramount and additional time and access are needed in fighting for the helpful amendments in Congress to insure housing, social security and health benefits in support of these citizens, along with breaking down barriers to insure federal funds and successful coordination, which will enable local agencies to get these services to the people who need them in a timely way. Homelessness and poverty issues have a long way to go, and the Veterans deserve assistance with honor as they return home from service to their country. I will be working to insure different options and introductions for women to experience more success as well. Mayor Schneider has also served as Co-Chair of the South Coast of Santa Barbara County Homeless Advisory Committee for open doors to succeed and get helpful access.


Mayor Honors Santa Barbara Theatre Organ Society

When asked about the upcoming campaign “I look forward to this campaign for Congress and believe If you don't step up to bat you can't do anything.” “I believe Women need to step, suit up, speak out and lead” said Schneider. For additional information on visit: www.HeleneSchneider.org


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© 2008 Bonnie Carroll, All Rights Reserved