Editor’s note: This is one of the articles on local candidates in advance of Tuesday’s general election.
Louise Smith, a business owner who says she has often reinvented herself, has a new destiny in mind.
She wants to join the Solvang City Council.
Ms. Smith is running for the District 3 seat against David Brown in Tuesday’s general election.
She received her bachelor’s in sociology in 1984 from Washington & Jefferson College and her master’s in business administration in leadership and management in 2004 from the University of La Verne.
“I love Solvang! I have had the distinct pleasure of calling Solvang home for over 13 years and have been working in the Santa Ynez Valley for almost 20 years,” Ms. Smith told the News-Press in an email. “We need diversity on the City Council to truly represent our amazing community. I own my own business and have the flexibility that allows me to dedicate the time our citizens need and deserve, and I believe I can be a true representative on the Solvang City Council.”
The News-Press asked Ms. Smith how her career has prepared her for the council.
“I’ve reinvented myself so many times, I’m never sure if it’s because I have a short attention span or because I am really interested in so many different things! I started my career as a family counselor and child advocate in Southwest Pennsylvania, then managed my family’s telephone answering service in Santa Barbara. When that business closed, I became an ethics adviser for a large hospital chain.
“When the main office for that company moved to Dallas, Texas, I wanted to stay in Santa Barbara County and was asked by the HR manager at the Santa Barbara Chapter of the American Red Cross to help handle the mass amounts of generous donations coming in for victims of Hurricane Katrina and the rebuilding of that community,” Ms. Smith said. “At the same time, I was building my catering and private chef business and learning more about food and wine pairing and started working and then managing various winery tasting rooms throughout Santa Ynez Valley.
“Over the past 10 years, I have also taught an eight-week course on winery tasting room sales and service at Allan Hancock College,” Ms. Smith said.
“My passion for listening to and representing people is a top priority for me,” she said. “I have worked with various populations and believe my compassion and fairness will be a perfect fit for a seat on the Solvang City Council.”
Ms. Smith discussed her goals if elected.
“I want to be the best representative for the residents and business owners in District 3 as well as all Solvang citizens,” she said. “We have many issues facing our community including becoming water-independent, creating affordable housing and being responsible with development and growth. With these concerns, I believe that every development proposal that comes to the city council needs to come with a component to conserve water, with incentives and resources to saving water, include a housing element and be mindful of the impact the development has on residents, businesses, parking, traffic and even the environment.
“Solvang is a tourist destination, and we rely on those guests and their dollars to keep our community thriving,” she said. “All these elements need to be considered.”
The News-Press asked Ms. Smith why she felt she would be better for this position than her opponent.
“I think my unique and varied background provides me with the skills, resources and compassion needed for this position. As a self-employed business owner, I rely on residents, businesses and tourists to hire my company and help my business thrive, so I am concerned about everyone who lives in this amazing place we call home. I have no agenda or special interests and have even limited the amount of money supporters can donate to my campaign, and I am actually funding it mostly myself.
“My voice is for the constituents of District 3 and all who live and work in Solvang,” she said.
“I truly care about this community and want to be their voice on this city council,” Ms. Smith said. “I am available to talk, answer questions and share my views at any time … I have no special agenda or interests other than to be an honest, compassionate, transparent and available representative for the people of Solvang.”