|Candidate Name:||Erica A. Stewart|
|Position Sought:||San Luis Obispo Mayor|
|Website / Social Media:||VoteForErica.com|
|Why are you running for office?|
|I want to engage more of our community to help solve some of our key issues. Improving our community’s economy, housing challenges, homelessness issues, transportation challenges, activating strategies to reduce the effects of climate change and increasing belonging by addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion are among the many issues that need to be addressed. It’s been an honor to lead the city of San Luis Obispo and we have so much more to do!|
|What makes you qualified for the job?|
|I've lived, worked, and raised my family in SLO County for 26 years. Currently, I serve as the mayor for SLO city, appointed in Oct 2021. In 2018 I was elected to the SLO city council and was successful as a first-time candidate. I also work at Cal Poly as the Assistant Director of Personnel at the Health Center. |
On the council, I serve on multiple boards community-wide. For example, I serve on the Community Action Partnership CAPSLO addressing homelessness and childcare, the REACH SLO Advisory Committee addressing regional issues and economic recovery, and I’m proud of the work we have done through the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) task force to create a more inclusive SLO.
In the past, I have also served in many roles in the community, Vice President of the County Civil Service Commission, President of the Human Resources Association of the Central Coast, member of the Women’s Legacy Fund Advisory Committee, YMCA Bitty Sports Coordinator, Los Ranchos PTA, Teach Boosters, and countless volunteer roles for my children’s activities. I’ve owned my own wholesale bakery, catered, been in Human Resources in numerous industries, and was the Chief Operating Officer for United Way. I came to SLO for Cal Poly, was elected as student body president in my last year, and served as the President of the Cal Poly Alumni Association in 2018.
|What are your two main priorities if you win?|
|My main goals are increasing housing and reducing the effects of climate change, all through a lens of equity, inclusivity, respect, and sustainability.|
As a city, we can provide support in creating more housing with a range of affordability so that more people can be housed and live near their work and school. I want to help people access resources and collaborate with our neighboring communities to reduce homelessness.
My strategy for addressing all of these goals is to engage as many people as possible in our community processes, decisions, and changes. This must include increasing the communication methods to reach our missing community members - the people whose voices we aren’t hearing from yet. An example of this can be expanding the city’s process in order to include more feedback from low-income households when making policies about low-income housing or finances, such as working with HASLO’s property managers to go to their properties to hear from the people who are living in low-income housing rather than hoping they come to us. I have been working with CAPSLO and 40 Prado, and visiting Hope’s Villages, Shower for the People, with Anne Wyatt and tiny homes work. I intend to continue to engage with these community champions and more, to listen and bring feedback back to the city, county, and homeless resources for better solutions.
|How will you collaborate with other governments?|
|Currently, I collaborate with the city and county on regional issues such as housing, homelessness, public health, economic development, and more. We meet monthly as mayors throughout our county and even connected with mayors in Monterey and Santa Barbara counties regarding the potential extension of Diablo Canyon. We will work together as a region to help people and families access housing, mental health, substance abuse, food, and other resources. There is no one answer to large complex issues, we have to solve these together!|
|What do you think are the two biggest issues that need to be addressed right away?|
|There are many issues in our city and society today that are more complex than a simple band-aid fix. I am proud of the work the city and council have done during my tenure and will continue to ask the hard questions, involve all the stakeholders, and reach out to those whose voices are not being heard. The city of San Luis Obispo will continue to lead the way as a thought leader on items such as homelessness, climate action, sustainable transportation, and diversity equity and inclusion. We will continue to collaborate with partner organizations and leverage our resources to the fullest extent possible to continue to make SLO a thriving community to live and work.|