Former Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis and Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) Director Jaclyn Moreno will run for the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors District 5 seat in 2022.
District 5 encompasses more than 650 square miles and includes Elk Grove, Galt, Rancho Cordova and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta communities.
Since 1994, this district has been represented by Don Nottoli, who announced last Thursday that he will not seek reelection. District 5’s last contested race was held in 2010 when Wilton resident Lovie Kirkland challenged the incumbent.
Herburger staff spoke with Davis and Moreno about their move to the District 5 race.
Davis seeks to help economic recovery countywide
Davis told the Citizen that he felt “called back” to public service during the economic decline related to COVID-19.
“As mayor, I led the city of Elk Grove through a great recession, and the diminished tax revenue that came through that, the rebuilding that had to occur, really just the hands-on addressing of a dire situation to rebuild,” he said. “And Elk Grove came out stronger afterwards.
“I see that Sacramento County, this district – Elk Grove, Rancho Cordova, Galt – it’s going to be dealing with some of those same (economic) issues, and I’ve done it before. I have the experience; I know how to engage in the difficult conversations and be hands-on in working to help our small businesses be successful.”
Davis recalled serving on the Elk Grove City Council during the city’s biggest housing boom in the mid-2000s, followed by the city’s biggest housing bust, which significantly decreased the city’s tax revenue.
“When I took the reins in Elk Grove, the city had received a couple years in a row the distinction of being the least business-friendly city in the Sacramento region,” he said.
“(The council) deliberately focus(ed) on turning that around, and just a couple of years later, we received back-to-back awards for being the most business-friendly city in the Sacramento region. That’s meaningful, because I believe that needs to happen countywide.”
Davis, who spent 10 years on the Elk Grove City Council, became Elk Grove’s first directly elected mayor in 2012. He served as mayor until 2016, when he decided to not seek reelection.
Before entering Elk Grove politics, Davis served on the Natomas Unified School District board for four years.
Since leaving the council, he co-founded the Elk Grove Community Council, which supports nonprofit organizations and produces events. He has also endorsed political candidates, including Bobbie Singh-Allen’s 2020 run for mayor of Elk Grove and, most recently, local state Senate candidate Dr. Tecoy Porter Sr.
Davis, a 17-year resident of Elk Grove and a former coffee shop owner, stressed that he is no stranger to District 5.
“I have deep, deep roots in this district,” he said. “I grew up in Rancho Cordova. I was born in the Sacramento area. I know pretty much every neighborhood in this supervisorial district, and I’ve either lived in it or represented it. I bet I know this district better than any potential candidate.”
Davis also noted his strong interest in creating and maintaining good neighborhoods.
“Neighborhoods mean a lot of things,” he said. “It’s where you live. Frankly, now it’s where a lot of people work. And people need to feel safe and secure as a foundation.
“So, that’s where public safety comes in. But it’s also how they feel connected to each other. By doing that one road at a time, that’s how we build a strong economy, a strong community.”
Public safety, Davis noted, should be enjoyed by all residents in the county.
“All residents of the county need to feel safe, including our communities of color,” he said. “There’s been a lot of conversation about our police nationwide, and my pledge would be to play a hands-on role in working to build trust and effectiveness among all of our communities and law enforcement officers.”
Davis concluded that he believes the timing is right for him to utilize his public experience in this higher office.
“As my wife and I think about what’s next as our children are funneling off to college and the workforce, the timing really is right to take this experience (that he) developed over the last couple of decades and serve Sacramento County,” he said.
Moreno desires ‘more proactive’ approach to county issues
In discussing her own interest in representing District 5, Moreno mentioned her participation in a Blue Ribbon Commission with the county during the past year as an “extremely eye opening” experience.
“It is clear that the county needs to be more proactive, rather than reactive,” she told Herburger staff last week. “We don’t have enough housing. We have to proactively address homelessness. It’s imperative we get our economy back on track.”
Moreno was elected to the Cosumnes CSD board in 2018 and, as a director, she makes decisions that impact the Cosumnes Fire Department, as well as Elk Grove’s parks and recreation system.
Moreno, who works in the health care industry, stressed a need to make access to public health care a top priority and increase efforts to “get everyone vaccinated as fast as we can.”
“COVID(-19) has really brought to light how essential public health is, and the county is the entity that manages public health and delivers services,” she said. “Through this crisis, it’s been absolutely heartbreaking to see kids struggling to get diagnoses, let alone services, and the same goes for our frontline workers, families and our seniors.”
Moreno also identified COVID-19 economic recovery as one of her top-priority issues.
“Personally, as a small business owner, I don’t have it as tough as many small businesses – like restaurants, for example – but I have felt the tremendous impact that COVID has had. My business is barely surviving.
“I think the county needs to focus on proactive measures to get small businesses through this and thriving again,” she said. “We need a plan to get people back to work again as quickly as possible.”
On the issue of homelessness, Moreno noted her desire for the county to collaborate with other jurisdictions to create programs for people without homes.
“We don’t have enough housing,” she said. “We are going to go through a housing boom in this area, as reported, and we need to make sure we’re building housing, including affordable housing for folks.
“The more housing we build, the more jobs we create. In addition to that, the more inventory that’s available for folks, that’s important.”
Moreno recognized the value of the relations she has developed through her two years of service on the CSD board.
“I think that, as a candidate and hopefully eventually elected to the Board of Supervisors, I’ll be able to use those relationships to continue creating success at the county level,” she said.
Moreno recalled beginning her involvement with politics following Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election victory. She founded The Resistance, a Sacramento/Elk Grove group that was dedicated to resisting Trump’s “hateful agenda.”
“I started a local group organizing for policies that were important to our group and, as a result, got to meet a lot of people, elected leaders in this community,” she said. “I felt like I could be a part of that. I could use the position to really be a voice for people in this community.
“And I think I’ve stayed true to that over the years. I think that leadership is really about working collaboratively with different stakeholders to identify priorities and come up with potential solutions.”
Moreno added that she is eager to learn more about the needs of people in the county.
“I will spend the next year on a listening tour, where I will be with different stakeholders, different community members, different organizations to figure out what’s important to them,” she said. “What are their priorities? And to collaborate around what could be potential solutions to those, if I am elected.”
Moreno is excited for the potential of serving the people of District 5.
“I love this work,” she said. “I love being able to create policies with a goal of making people’s lives better. If I’m able to do that in a grander scale at the county level, I’ll just be overjoyed.