New year, new job, new home-away-from-home

January 1, 2023

Happy New Year’s Day 2023!

I hope your holidays were rejuvenating – and that you’re as energized for the new year as I am!

Tomorrow I start my new legislative routine, which involves traveling to Sacramento for several days each week to work as your senator. I’m really excited about what the future holds, and eager to dig in.

It’s clear that it takes more than a good idea to make positive societal change. Public policy progress depends upon building power TOGETHER with others – including other elected leaders, constituent groups and the professionals who work around and within the many agencies.

There are many new people to build relationships with, and when I consider getting to know this large group of folks who are currently unknown to me, my honest feeling is glee. There is just so much potential!

After emptying my office at Encinitas City Hall, I paused to savor my final moments before driving just a few minutes down the road to the location of the my new senate office. The office in the photos below was occupied by the staff of my predecessor, Sen. Patricia Bates, who lived in Orange County and had her primary office in Laguna Hills. 
Lots of boxes to sort through!

The month of December has been a period of transition – trainings, benefit forms, new emails and calendars, moving offices in Sacramento, San Diego and Orange County. 

A substantial amount of time and effort is going into building my team of 15 staff members, including reviewing resumes, interviewing, checking references, and piecing all the elements together in my head. 

On that front, I’m excited to share that my first hire was Heather Resetarits as my Chief of Staff. She lives in Sacramento with her husband and was previously the Chief of Staff for Senator Bob Wieckowski, who didn’t run for re-election because of the California legislature’s 12-year term limit.

Experience matters! Shortly before I was sworn-in, my proficient Chief of Staff Heather guided me through preparing to present my first two bills – on homelessness and gun violence. Her understanding of what to do, and when to do it, is invaluable.

Heather started with Sen. Wieckowski in an entry level position after she completed law school and rose to the top position over 12 years. I’m thrilled that she’s bringing to my team her knowledge of the complex, arcane and deadline-driven legislative process, as well as a depth of relationships, and experience with managing teams of people. 

In another key hire, it was a coup that I was able to hire Jack Christensen (pictured below) away from SANDAG, to serve as my District Director in this district of nearly a million people. Jack supervised and guided the SANDAG regional affairs team, coordinating all the different agencies that interacted with SANDAG and whose support was necessary for progress. He also has a masters degree in public policy from UCSD and is fluent in Spanish.

Jack lives with his partner Joel in San Diego and will be working between the Encinitas and Laguna Hills offices, managing a staff of about 10 people. Professionally, he’s established great relationships, is an intuitive manager, knows public policy and is relentlessly positive, which I think is great. 

Although I’ll be in Sacramento for part of every week, my district staff will keep me closely connected to you, the people who elected me, and to bring your concerns, priorities and perspectives with me to the state Capitol. 

The district staff also helps field any problems or complaints that constituents experience with the state government.

Chief of Staff Heather Resetarits and District Director Jack Christensen in Sacramento on December 5, my first day as your senator!

There are several other motivated and talented folks who have been hired or are about to be hired. I hope that when we have an open house for our district offices, you’ll be able to meet them. 

As the Mayor of Encinitas, I never had staff who worked directly for me – all city staff worked for the city as a whole. In this new role, I’m so excited to have talented people to help me tackle homelessness, gun violence, environmental and climate action goals and, in general, change the world for the better! 

So you can see why I’m so enthusiastic about our team and our mission!

My Chief of Staff Heather traveled to the district from Sacramento so I could show her the lay of the land, including important issues I plan to address. One is the instability of the railroad corridor in Del Mar and San Clemente. There’s nothing like seeing it first-hand. We rode our bikes to several important spots in the district.

Wanted: an amazing Communications Director

We are still interviewing for a Communications Director. The ideal candidate is a creative self-starter, with a news reporting background, who is a true believer in our goals and wants to help describe the work I’m doing to a broader audience. The person needs to be a strong and error-free writer, follow and be interested in public policy, handle social media and be able to interact with the press on my behalf.

My preference is for someone who lives in or near Sacramento – given the pace and fluidity of legislation, it’s important to have someone who’s in the center of the action. But I’m also open to considering excellent applicants who would live in our 38th District. Starting salary is $7,400-$11,554 a month, depending on experience, and the job application is here.

I can’t say this enough: thank you again for your interest, your support and your commitment. I literally couldn’t do any of this without you and I’m so grateful you’ve given me the chance!

Let’s go!

P.S. What’s a holiday without a holiday photo?

Over the holidays my husband Jeremy and I, together with our kids and other family members, had a fabulous time together in Lake Tahoe!
Sorry, you are not in the 38th Senate District.
You are in the 38th Senate district!