Sacramento hasn't had an easy run of things lately - from COVID to distance learning to struggling businesses to people unable to afford a place to live. We can do better, but we need strong leadership coupled with compassionate advocacy for what's right. My mother and grandmother instilled in me from a young age that if you can help, you should help.
I love building coalitions of people who work together to solve problems.
I’m a PTA mom, a small business owner, education attorney, a Girl Scout Leader, a twenty-year elected member of the Natomas Unified School District, and a passionate advocate for our community.
While born in Los Angeles, I grew up in a small town in Oregon, where I learned from my mother and grandmother the value of hard work, keeping your word, and always giving back to those in need. We regularly adopted families through the Salvation Army, organized food drives, hosted exchange students from other countries in our house and worked to make our community a safe place to live.
Working multiple jobs to pay for college and law school didn’t lessen my desire to give back. In college, I volunteered at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center grade school for children with cancer and in law school, I spent the little free time I had volunteering at the children’s ward at UC Davis. Upon graduation from McGeorge School of Law, I immediately became a Rotarian and began volunteering in our local Natomas schools, while at the same time working in the Legislature.
Between 2000-2007, I served as a legislative director for several California State Assemblymembers, supervising legislative staff and administering the Assemblymember’s legislative agenda from development to signature by the Governor. Thereafter, I served as general counsel of a lobbying firm. During my time as a legislative advocate, I gained experience completing difficult projects, building coalitions and meeting the needs of clients on schedule in an intensive political environment where self-reliance and lateral thinking is required.
Prior to opening Kaplan Law Group, I was appointed as the Assistant Executive Officer (“AEO”) for the State Allocation Board (“SAB”), which sets the policy and approves applications for apportionment of school construction dollars for all districts in the State of California. As the AEO, I chaired the Implementation Committee, Audit Working Group and staffed the SAB on the subcommittee on Audits and subcommittee on Rules & Procedures. During my tenure, I was instrumental in the passage of new audit procedures, the Shovel Ready (Priorities in Funding) policy, Sale of Surplus Property policy, the new High Performance Incentive grant regulations and the adoption of the Board’s Rules and Procedures. In 2011, I formed my own small business, running Kaplan Law Group, working with school districts, architects, construction companies and landowners on issues surrounding contracts, school construction, accessing state construction funding and compliance with skilled and trained workforce.
In 2002, I was elected to my first term as a member of the Natomas School Board, a position I have been re-elected to four times as the top vote getter. In this capacity, I’ve continued to invest in our children. In addition to raising expectations and scores over the last decade, making Natomas Unified one of the premier school districts in the state, I’ve paid special attention to creating opportunities for low income and at-risk students. These efforts include personally founding and funding a yearly scholarship for Chromebooks for kids in need, establishing a health clinic for our uninsured and underinsured children and families, running a vaccination clinic at the high school, and leading the creation of Joey’s food locker, which provides food for thousands of hungry area families. I was Board President when COVID hit that shut down our schools, but under my leadership Natomas led in keeping students and teachers safe, by upgrading our air filtration systems, handing out food daily to all students under 18, providing free wifi and chromebooks, setting up partnerships with the city to ensure the children of essential workers had free childcare, establishing a COVID vaccination clinic, hiring more social workers - among many other items.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve been very involved in our community. For 11 years I was a member of Natomas Rotary (serving as President in 2002-2004), also serving as President of the Sacramento Region Jewish Federation Board (2011-2013), Past President for Sacramento Regional Chapter of California Women Lead (2010-2014), and as a Delegate Member for the California School Board Association (2009 – present). In my spare time, I love spending as much time as possible with my partner in life and our two daughters exploring California’s beauty hiking, camping and traveling.
I have the experience in building coalitions and the results to show for it. As your next Council Member representing District 1, I will focus my energy on making our community a safe place to live, work and thrive, re-invest in our small businesses, expand after school programs, strengthen community policing, increase access to affordable housing and jobs, lift unhoused residents off the streets and into needed shelter and services, and make sure Natomas and the Robla community stays a place where people of all generations are proud to call home.