My name is Elysia Lewis and I am running for the two-year Buellton City Council seat vacated by Foster Reif. I chose the two-year seat as opposed to the four-year seat so that I could give myself time to learn about the council and how the city of Buellton operates before possibly taking a seat away from someone with more experience.
I chose to run for a City Council seat because I felt that Buellton could benefit from some fresh perspective. I am the first-generation daughter of an Ecuadorian immigrant, I am young, and I am still raising young children in our community and this makes me unique from the other candidates and sitting council members. I have always felt that committees and organizations that made decisions based on diverse input were more effective, inclusive, and sensitive to the variety of groups that they represent.
My husband and I have three children with our fourth and final addition due in November. We can think of no better place to raise our children than the city of Buellton. My husband was raised in Buellton since he was in fifth grade. I was raised in the Valley since I was in third grade.
I attended College Elementary, Santa Ynez High School and Olive Grove Charter school before leaving for my undergraduate studies at Purdue University. I grew up participating in 4-H, AYSO, and various equestrian shows. After college, my husband and I moved right back to the Valley -renting our way from Santa Ynez to Buellton before finally buying a home in Buellton.
It is hard to be in a race against two wonderful, well-respected community members such as Robin and John. They are wonderful people and you know they truly only want the best for our special little city. However, I believe that I bring some very unique and beneficial skills to the council that the other candidates for this seat don’t have.
I have a law degree, I work in public school finance/business, and I am certified by the California Association of School Business Officials as a Chief Business Official. I have worked as the chief business and financial administrator for public school districts for the last six years. I understand the nature of public finance, public works and public administration. I can read financial and legal reports with a more thorough understanding than the average citizen.
I don’t have any agenda in joining the council other than providing a new set of eyes and wanting to be a part of helping Buellton succeed as a city. In my opinion, the best thing about getting new eyes on old issues is that new eyes mean new ideas, new perspectives, and open-minds. I believe strategic, well calculated growth is necessary for our city to continue to thrive, but the small town feeling of our city is what attracts and keeps people wanting to live here. Because of this, we need to ensure that any decisions made by the council maintain this balance.
I also feel strongly that the city needs something that unifies our community – something that brings people together. We are a very spread out little town and the Avenue of the Flags could be the perfect little shopping/eating spot that could bring locals together.
It is the only commercial area within walking distance for many homes so it makes sense. We need to rally the community’s buy-in and support for this project, create a plan to incentivize local business owners’ participation and really put the plan for the Avenue of the Flags into motion.