Angelique Ashby, City Councilperson, Community Leader, and Mayoral Candidate
By Akshaj Mehta, Sci-Tech Kids Editor
Angelique Ashby is a community leader that has done a great deal for the greater Sacramento, CA area. She is currently running for Mayor in Sacramento. She is passionate about reading and has led a campaign for supporting our libraries. In addition, she has engaged a major number of youth in the community for various park projects.
Ms. Ashby is a mother of three children. She has a law degree from McGeorge School of Law, a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UC Davis and is a graduate of Sacramento High School.
Before entering public service, Angelique was a community leader who started a small business. She was first elected to City Council in 2010 for the Natomas area. In this role she has worked on enhanced flood protection for Natomas, advocated for libraries in Sacramento and helped Natomas Unified School District pass a facilities bond to keep up with a growing student population.
Angelique Ashby is the District One Sacramento City Councilmember, having been elected to office in 2010 and re-elected in 2014, she is the longest serving member of the council.
Councilmember Ashby, the sole female on the City Council, represents North Natomas. On the Council, Ashby has reduced crime in her district by 48% and improved emergency response times by three minutes. She led the city’s effort to establish a City Police Commission and ushered in ethics reforms. Ashby fought and successfully returned $1.7 million to homeowners who were overcharged by developers.
For an unprecedented four years straight, Mayor Pro Tem Ashby was selected by her peers to serve as either Vice Mayor or Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Sacramento. Her goals are to help Sacramento combat homelessness by engaging the issue more directly. She wants to establish a business-friendly environment while also increasing efforts to combat a spiking crime rate.
Ms. Ashby has agreed to talk with us about life in politics and ways she believes improvements can be made in our communities.
Amazing Kids (AK): Can you please describe your job and your favorite parts of your career to date?
Angelique Ashby (AA): My job as a Sacramento City Councilmember is to help ensure that our city is moving in the right direction and that we are making wise decisions on how to spend taxpayer dollars. The biggest priority for me is public safety. So making sure our community has a good police department, enough fire and emergency services, strong levees, and clean drinking water rank at the very top.
My favorite part of being a Councilmember though is the time that I get to spend with my constituents. We hold movie nights in the park each year and we have several thousand people show up. Those are some of my favorite moments.
AK: Why did you decide to run for the Mayor of Sacramento?
AA: I decided to run for Mayor because I feel that I am the right person to take on the job. I think Sacramento needs someone who gives everyone a seat at the table, and that will pay attention to the details.
AK: How will Sacramento be different after four years under your leadership?
AA: After my first term as Mayor, my hope is that Sacramento will be a more nimble city. We need to focus on strengthening our core services and give the departments all the tools they need to serve the residents of Sacramento.
AK: How has being a woman changed how you deal with things in your public role?
AA: There are times that being a woman makes running for office more difficult. Gender bias still exists. Dealing with that, can sometimes make the job a bit more challenging.
But in other ways it helps you see issues through a different lens. For example, being a mom has helped me on several different occasions when projects or programs have come before the council. I’ve been able to draw from my experiences raising my own kids to help guide the decision making process away from things that might not be in the best interest of our kids.
AK: What traits do you display that have made you a good role model for youth?
AA: I try very hard to be available. It is important to me that young people have opportunities to be involved. The earlier we can engage people in civic life, the more prone they are to take up the mantle as they grow up. I want the youth in Sacramento to have access to me and to their government. I want to try and help each kid succeed and achieve their dreams.
AK: Can you describe your involvement in literacy and supporting our public library system? Why is this important to you?
AA: Libraries are the great equalizer. They offer programs and services to everyone, regardless of your circumstances. It is so important to me that people have access to information and the ability to learn. Without that, we disenfranchise entire communities and create barriers to success. We need to do the opposite, and libraries like the ones we have in Sacramento offer a way to break down some of those barriers.
AK: Why do you believe having beautiful parks in the city is important?
AA: The way you feel about your city helps to energize communities. If folks take pride in their parks, schools, and neighborhoods, we all are better off. If the community feels a sense of ownership, they are more likely to make better choices when using our public spaces. If you feel good about where you live you tend to take better care of it. I think part of that starts with your parks.
We have to lead by example.
AK: What steps did you take to get youth involved in various community projects? Why do you think it’s important for young children to become involved in the community? Describe ways they can get involved?
AA: When I was running for City Council for the first time in 2009 I decided to start the Youth Advisory Committee. They were a group of seniors from Inderkum High School who helped us walk precincts, talk to voters, and helped me to understand the various issues in the community as they saw them.
After taking office, I brought that program with me. Soon after, we started another program called PLAY (Parks Leadership Academy for Youth) which gets young people involved in the maintenance of our local parks. This goes back to the philosophy of how people feel about their public amenities and taking ownership. A teenager who takes ownership of a park is less likely to do anything that would damage other parks, and in fact makes them an ambassador so that they are able to teach their friends about the importance of keeping our public spaces nice and open for everyone.
I am proud to say that we engage over a thousand youth each year.
AK: Name any mentors who have helped you achieve your potential?
AA: Betsy Marchand was the first woman elected to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors and has been someone who has helped me out tremendously over the years. She is a strong woman and I am so fortunate to have her in my life.
My biggest mentor and probably my loudest cheerleader though, has always been my dad. He has been supportive of me and has helped to guide me on the path I’m on now. I am lucky to have a dad like him.
AK: What advice do you have for our readers that hope to pursue a career in politics?
AA: I encourage young people to take a look at a future in public service. It can sometimes be a difficult field and it presents many challenges along the way. But there is nothing like driving to work in the morning and spotting a problem, and by the end of the day driving back home to see that you had a role to play in fixing it. I love representing my community and I truly want to see the next generation of leaders take it to the next level.