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Shawn Farmer

Galt Mayor Shawn Farmer is campaigning for reelection to Galt City Council. If he wins a second term, he told the Herald that he wants to focus on quality of life, public safety and preserving Galt’s “small-town economy.”

Also in the running for three council seats are Galt City Council Member Rich Lozano; Tim Reed, chair of the Galt Public Safety Committee; Tom Silva, president of the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District board of education; and Galt Vice Mayor Paul Sandhu.

Farmer said he chose to seek reelection in order to continue projects Council is working on, such as making parks and recreation sustainable. He said obstacles early in his term, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, budget cuts and a cyberattack, had made progress difficult.

“Finally, we’re making some headway. I feel like, the last year and a half, couple years, we’ve really been able to start making forward progress,” Farmer said. “I just thought there (were) too many loose ends. There (were) too many things that were quite unfinished. And I just didn’t feel like it was the right time for me to step away, and that I needed to see these things through, to make sure that, at what time I do step away, things would be in really good hands.”

Farmer said he was proud of actions Council has taken to improve quality of life and public safety in the city. He noted several new police programs approved during his term, including body cameras, a drone program and automatic license plate readers, which he said have put the Galt Police Department “light-years from where it was four years ago.”

He also cited his advocacy for litter-abatement efforts. This year, Council voted to create a litter-abatement position that he had supported. Farmer said the man hired for the job had picked up more than 100 bags of garbage from city streets.

“It might seem like such a trivial, small thing, but it’s a broken-window theory. If you have a clean town, then people are going to be more prideful of their town,” Farmer said.

Farmer said his emphasis on quality of life would continue in a second term. He pointed to “smart growth” as one way of keeping Galt a pleasant place to live.

The state puts various development requirements on the city, and Farmer said it is important to take advantage of the city’s options where possible.

“When we have some control over how we grow or what we’re going to do or what we’re going to build, we need to do it,” Farmer continued.

Additionally, he said he wants to focus on infill development rather than expanding the city’s borders.

For Farmer, maintaining public safety means ensuring residents feel safe in their community. He said he wants to advocate for the expansion of the school-resource officer program at city schools and encourage improved street safety at intersections and crosswalks.

Farmer’s third priority is maintaining Galt’s “small-town economy,” explaining what that means to him.

“For me, it has always been a ‘quality, not quantity’ mindset,” he said. “I am more concerned with trying to bring the things that people of Galt want or do the things that the people of Galt want to see here … than I am about bringing more people here.

“I’m not really a big fan of a bunch more housing developments and more people, but I would like to see some more things that the people of Galt that live here now can enjoy.”

Farmer said all of his focuses ultimately come back to quality of life and cited parks and recreation funding as the biggest goal that motivated him to run again.

“I don’t want to leave office until I have something in place that I know is going to ensure a solid foundation for parks and rec moving forward for the future,” Farmer said.

He noted his support for the Saturday Market, which tests the viability of weekend hours for the Galt Market, as well as the Council’s vote to put the Measure Q 1-cent sales tax on the ballot.

While Farmer said that “it’ll be up to the voters” to decide whether they want to have the tax, he continued that the choice is related to the kind of city Galt will be.

“People don’t like growth, but they also want nice things, and I say to these people, ‘You have continued growth and continued property taxes and just getting bigger and losing that small town we love, or you can look at something else like Measure Q, for example. Which lever do you want to pull?’” Farmer said.

Farmer co-owns Coffee Shop Bakery with his wife, Heather, and said he enjoys living in Galt. He has three daughters, who are the latest of several generations to go to Galt schools.

“We’re deeply invested in this community,” Farmer said.

Though he has hobbies, Farmer said Council and community involvement take up much of his time.

“I’m out in the community all the time,” Farmer said. “I’m talking to people. I’m volunteering on something. I’m out there looking at things so I can report back” to city staff.

Discussing why Galt voters should choose him as one of their three votes for Council, Farmer said voters can hold him accountable based on his record as a “solid representative” of the people.

“I think that anybody who’s been paying attention or knows of me in the community will know that I try to give 100% to this job, and I do everything possible,” Farmer said. “I can’t always give everybody in the community what they want … but I can say that I’ve listened to them and I have made an effort to do so. And I’ve been successful many times, and sometimes I haven’t, but I’ve tried every single time.”