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Elysia Lewis

Elysia Lewis
Elysia Lewis - Buellton City Council candidate

Buellton City Council

Why are you running for office?: I am running for a City Council seat because I feel that Buellton could benefit from a fresh perspective and a different point of view. I am the first-generation daughter of an Ecuadorian immigrant, I am young, I work in the Valley and I am still raising young children in our community. All of this makes me unique from the other candidates and sitting council members. Serving on the Buellton School Board has given me insight to the challenges facing our young families and I want to help facilitate change. I enjoy listening and learning from others who may have different life experiences than I have. I come with an open mind, and want to ensure that all members of our community have a voice. I firmly believe that committees and organizations that make decisions based on diverse input are more effective, inclusive, and sensitive to the variety of groups that they represent.
What makes you qualified for the job?: I bring a variety of education and experience to the table. I am the president of the Santa Barbara SIPE and a sitting board member for the Buellton Union School District. I have a BA from Purdue University, MA from Northcentral University, and Juris Doctorate from Purdue Global. As a Certified School Business Manager, I have worked in public finance for the past seven years, dealing with state and federal entities, financial reporting, audits, public works projects, public finance/bond issues, and more. My background in public finance will help our city leaders explore all options to maintain essential city services, and expand programs to serve children, families and seniors during this global recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We must invest in our community, promote “buy local” and work to attract local businesses and revenue back to our city. 
What are your two main priorities if you win?: My two highest priorities are improving the quality of life for Buellton residents and addressing the health and safety needs of our community. I would like to establish safe routes to schools, cultivate safe bike lanes, improve pedestrian travel with greater connectivity to safely cross the 101 and 246. Working with the community, I would also like to find ways to address the rising crime rate in our city by establishing neighborhood watch programs, and making sure our contract Sheriff provides the services we are paying for. This will help attract and support local small businesses and foster a stronger sense of community amongst residents.
How will you interact with other governments?: I will represent the residents of the City of Buellton and do my best to ensure that their values, ideals, and wishes are properly represented in dealings with other governments. I come to the table with an open mind and will work with the goals of collaboration and cooperation in mind. I will also ensure that the City of Buellton is properly protected from overreaching, incompatible, or detrimental policies. I am particularly interested in working with CalTrans--a state agency that controls Highway 246 that cuts through Buellton--to pursue improvements to make that road safer for crossing and with SBCAG, a regional organization responsible for overseeing transportation and addressing the jobs-housing imbalance throughout the County. I will also focus on the Groundwater Sustainability Management Plan for the Santa Ynez Valley, particularly as it affects Buellton’s long-term water supply. I am also eager to foster partnerships with our neighbor, Solvang on host of shared concerns such as tourism, mobility, libraries and more. Having served on the Buellton School Board, I will be eager to promote shared agreements between the City and the School District. The joint Recreation Center is model of collaboration that has leveraged resources and provided a first-rate facility and programming that neither could manage alone.
What are your plans to help overcome COVID-19?: Until we fully understand the impact COVID-19 is having on our community, we can't know how best to address it. We know that the pandemic has caused many to be displaced from their jobs, and others have had to take on the role of at home educator for their children, while trying to continue to work. We also know that many seniors and others have been isolated from their normal activities and interactions with others. I will ask the community to weigh in on what their struggles have been and see how the council could best address these struggles. I believe the city should have taken a more active role in the beginning of this pandemic to help residents with the most obvious need of childcare for essential workers. The city needs to be proactive and move quickly to address community needs.
Which two issues are most important to you?: The two issues most important to me are workforce housing and public health and safety.

Housing is a fundamental right and there are many citizens in our community that struggle to secure and maintain adequate housing. I struggle to watch good people, who have dedicated their entire careers to local employers, who have to commute from other cities because they cant afford to make their life in the community they serve.

Health and safety is also at the top of my list as it is paramount to our quality of life. Our students need safe routes to school and safe access to playgrounds. Our seniors need safe trails and connectivity for leisure and daily living needs. I don't want another resident being injured attempting to cross Highway 246.
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