Features ~ Sonoma Valley Sun


Conversations with the candidates

Posted on October 18, 2012 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Susan Gorin takes a break from campaigning to relax in the EDK and chat with us about what has driven her to serve the people of Sonoma for nearly 20 years as councilmember, mayor, school board member, bicycle/pedestrian advisory committee member, planning commissioner, and volunteer, and what motivates her to run for First District Supervisor. Background “I grew up in the 60’s,” she says smiling, as if that, in itself, explains a lot. “It was incredibly fascinating. It was filled with chaos and anger and messiness and people hating the hippies and the anti-war protesters and young men being sent to Vietnam… but I saw people coming together galvanizing around the needs for the community and showing a passion for making our community, our nation, very different from what it was.” She was disillusioned by Watergate, but inspired by dinnertime conversations with her new in-laws and the energy in the streets of Boston where she and her husband were living while he was studying at M.I.T. “I think that’s where my commitment to community, citizen education and participation was instilled in me,” she says. But she didn’t start out in politics right away. Influences “I’ve lived a lot of life and worked in a lot of jobs – secretary, office manager, real estate appraiser ­– and my husband and I ran a very successful small business (in sound systems). She also raised a family. Though politically oriented, going into politics was not the plan, not early on. But when they moved to Sonoma County some 30 years ago, she became interested in volunteering. “I really credit my emergence, my leadership skills, with the League of Women Voters,” she says. “My mother in law (who was very active in the league) said, ‘The first thing you do when you move to a community is to join the league and learn about the community.’ And so I did that. And I was fascinated with being able to ask questions, to pick up the phone and talk to people in government to get information – it’s available to the public, but most people do not take the time to do that.” She prides herself on listening and responding to her constituents. “I prefer person to person meetings, and gathering great minds together and saying, ‘Where can we go with this?’” Sonoma To Gorin, Sonoma is a town full of favorites, but the people top the list. “Generosity of spirit and the ability to come together to support community: fundraiser after fundraiser in support of schools, social services, volunteerism through the roof! Look at the amazing volunteers in the Sonoma Ecology Center, and in our parks, the docents ­– eyes on the ground, thinking creatively about how we can support our parks and keep them open. This is the real silver lining in adversity. The community coming together, working together. And I want to be a part of that, and continue to empower our community to come together and to work those solutions.” Talking about Sonoma makes her smile. “I love the events in the Plaza,” she says. “Walking in the Fourth of July parade was such a hoot for me! I had this little ragtag wagon and my signs, and people were coming up and giving me hugs, It speaks volumes of Sonoma.” She likes the bustle, the street scene, which she recognizes is special. “The businesses lining the Plaza, people walking morning noon and night, sitting on the sidewalks enjoying coffee, saying hello to their neighbors, that’s what community is about. And it’s very rare.” She vows to fight “I am fighting for this position,” she says, “and I’ve been demonstrating all my life that I fight for community. When I see neighborhoods being excluded from the decision-making process, when I see groups coming to us saying, ‘Please don’t approve this because we’re going to have the impacts from this development,’ I listen, and I fight for them. That is my passion, and it’s who I am, growing up in the 60’s, fighting for social justice.”

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