Three women from Santa Barbara County won the Congressional Women of the Year Award, which honors exceptional women across the 24th Congressional District of California who have positively impacted their communities.
Kathleen Baushke and Dr. Anne Rodriguez, both from Santa Barbara, and Tracy Beard, from Solvang, were announced as winners by Rep. Salud Carbajal last week.
Noha Kolkailah, from Arroyo Grande, Pandora Nash-Karner, from Los Osos, and Biz Steinberg, from San Luis Obispo, also won the award.
“The recipients of this year’s Women of the Year Award are all doing incredible work to make the Central Coast an even better place to live, often without the recognition or compensation they deserve,” Rep. Carbajal said in a statement. “I am honored to recognize these remarkable, trailblazing women for their indelible contributions and leadership in our community.”
Ms. Baushke of Santa Barbara is the executive director of Transition House, a shelter, housing and education nonprofit to solve homelessness. In that, she created the Landlord Liaison Program that connects local landlords with homeless veterans and children.
Ms. Baushke also founded the National Coalition for Homelessness Solutions and served on boards for other related nonprofits in the city.
Dr. Rodriguez is one of two gynecologic oncology surgeons in the area, where she cares for women with gynecologic and breast cancer. She has served as the chair of the department of surgery at Cottage Hospital and sits on the board of the Santa Barbara Breast Care Alliance.
In addition, the surgeon founded a local chapter of Boys Team Charity, an organization that teaches men from grades seven through 12 about the importance of volunteering.
Ms. Beard works to empower women to be entrepreneurs and create sustainable businesses through serving as the executive director of the Solvang Chamber of Commerce, president of the Association California Commission for Women and commissioner for Santa Barbara County.
She is also a board member of TVSB, where she tries to increase media literacy for youth.
Nominated by their peers, the winners of this award are from all walks of life making a difference in their communities in unique, powerful ways.
The congressman will enter a special written tribute for each winner into the official Congressional Record including their stories and communal impact. There will also be an award ceremony held at a later date to pin the winners.