Carmel Magazine

Holiday 2017

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52 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • H O L I D A Y 2 0 1 7 LOCALKNOWLEDGE Mar y Adams Monterey County Supervisor for the 5th District M ary Adams was sworn in as Monterey County Supervisor for the 5th District on January 10, 2017, assuming the seat formerly held by Dave Potter, defeating him in the June 2016 election by a margin of more than 10 points. Her district encompasses the Monterey Peninsula, Carmel Valley and Big Sur. Adams' life work has been in the field of public service; she left her posi- tion as President and CEO of United Way after 14 years to enter the Supervisor's race. Prior to that, she held executive positions at the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. During her tenure with United Way, she was instrumental in raising $50 million for that organization and instituted many successful programs that benefit the people of Monterey County. She lives in Pebble Beach. Q: What was your motivation for running for public office? A: I've lived here virtually all my life. My family moved here in the 1960s. During my years at United Way, I saw a lot of things at the county level that were being done well, but also a lot of things that weren't going par- ticularly well. I was looking at my district primarily. There were a lot of things that could be done better. I felt that there was the need to have someone who had fresh ideas, someone with a vision. We needed someone who knew how to build col- laborations, which I have done throughout my entire career, and felt I wanted to bring those skills and experiences to the county level. I went on a trip to Cuba with a group of women, mostly from the 5th District, on a women-to-women educational exchange. We were chatting at dinner one evening, talking about the 5th District seat, groaning that we thought it wasn't going the way we felt it should. One said, "We've got to find a good candidate to run, and you know what? We need a woman to run." Truthfully, I thought. I was whispering to the woman sitting next to me and said, "You know, I've always thought about doing that." Suddenly, the rest of the trip was, "OK…here's what we're going to do." That was when I really started formulating my campaign. Many of the women on that trip ended up being my campaign cabinet as I put together a real plan. Q: How was the experience of running a campaign? A: I absolutely loved it. It gave me the opportunity to get to know the people in the district so well. I really enjoyed precinct walking. A good friend, an avid tennis player, cancelled her entire tennis season through the campaign so she could walk with me every weekend. That was real dedi- cation. It was wonderful to get to know what people cared about, what they liked, what they didn't like. People welcomed me into their homes. Q: On September 12, the Board unanimously voted to declare Monterey County a "Dreamers County." What was your rationale? A: These are the best and the brightest. To be part of the DACA program, you cannot have served any time in jail and can't have had any infractions. There's a whole series of things you have to do. For us to just boot them out after they had come here under circumstances we could never under- stand: their parents were escaping, coming here for a better future for their families. They were babes in arms. They have no connection with their home countries at all. They are our future, and the future of Monterey County specifically. When you think we have 20,000 kids [of 800,000 nationwide] in our county who qualify for that program, it would be just insane to wipe out that whole group. This affects us more than just about any other place in the country — we're actually third in the nation — so we must be really conscious of what it is we're doing. Q: What are you working on now? A: We're just starting to work with a group of people to look at under- grounding the wires along Highway 1. That would be a long-term project but we need to start it. We plan to get former Congressman Sam Farr involved with that because he's spent a lot of time and effort on it. It would improve what is already a spectacular drive. I pretty much throw myself in 150 percent in anything I take on. I knew this would be a full-time commitment and I look forward to continuing to help the people in my district get the help they deserve on the issues that concern them. Q: Any ambitions for higher office? A: I just want to do a good job here. This is my home and I love it. My whole career has been focused on working on behalf of the better good for all of us. Being a Supervisor is the same thing—except people return your phone calls. And I love that. It's also fun. I'm really enjoying it very much. But it's a full-time job. People are starving for help. —Michael Chatfield

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