Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a five part series introducing Galt City Council candidates. One City Council candidate will be profiled each week through Sept. 30. Profiles will run in ballot order. Candidates’ replies to issue questions will be covered in the Oct. 7 edition.
Jay Vandenburg was raised in Galt, born to immigrants who taught him that hard work pays off. He was raised on the family dairy farm where he witnessed the work ethic in action. He is very proud of his Galt heritage. Vandenburg, a journeyman electrician, is running for City Council.
“After living though Nazi occupation as young adults, my parents immigrated to the U.S. in 1954 with two children,” Vandenburg said. “My father got a job at a dairy. With my parents’ hard work and my mother’s ability to be frugal, they went from working and living on a dairy to leasing a dairy and finally, in 1963, purchasing their own dairy farm on Kost Road.”
Vandenburg said he was surrounded by high achievers. His 10 siblings have carved out good lives. He modeled his life after theirs, remembering to give back to those in need.
“We all benefited from the small town lifestyle that taught us the value of family, loyalty and hard work,” Vandenburg said. “My parents modeled a rich history of giving to the community around them, from buying jackets for a family of complete strangers to dropping off boxes of food to families in need.”
Vandenburg has two adult sons and three adult stepchildren. He said he and his wife enjoy the time they get to spend with the kids and grandkids.
As an adult, Vandenburg volunteered on many humanitarian trips to Haiti, Nicaragua and Alaska. He and his wife also volunteered at the Haven of Peace Women’s Shelter in Stockton. In recent years, Vandenburg has pitched in with fellow Galtonians for cleanup days.
“As I have become more involved in our community, I have become increasingly concerned that the voice of the people is not being heard,” Vandenburg said. “Because of this, over the past two years, I have become more vocal in speaking out at City Council and planning commission meetings.”
When asked about his values, Vandenburg turned to coworkers for their input. Their observations of Vandenburg were that honesty, respect for everyone, commitment, loyalty, willingness to help others, and preparedness are his attributes.
“I would add faith,” Vandenburg said.
Learning from past mistakes to do better has been a theme in Vandenburg’s life.
“I have been successful in every job I have ever held,” Vandenburg said. “I contribute this to my upbringing in Galt on our dairy farm, my teachers, especially my fourth-grade teacher, Mr. Foppiano. His dedication and honesty to my parents changed the direction of my life, giving me a real opportunity at success.”
He wants voters to know that he does not take responsibilities lightly.
“The City Council is the last opportunity for the voice of the people to be heard,” Vandenburg said. “We need hard-working fellow citizens as representatives, people who want to hear from the citizens and will take to heart the citizens’ needs when making decisions on their behalf. It is, in fact, the reason for having a City Council in the first place.