ARROYO GRANDE — Mayor Caren Ray Russom announced she is running for a third term as Mayor of Arroyo Grande.
First elected as Mayor in 2018, she is only the second woman elected as mayor in the City’s 120-year history. Since then, she has additionally served as Board Member of the South SLO County Sanitation District, Council liaison to the Tourism Business Improvement District, the city’s representative to the California Joint Powers Insurance Authority, and as alternate on the Zone 3 Water Advisory Committee. She also serves on the board of Arroyo Grande Public Art.
When asked about her inspiration for a third term, she pointed to post-Covid opportunities. Arroyo Grande will be doing a complete update of its General Plan in the next two years. It’s a process that ideally involves the entire community and takes a lot of time and resources. “As awful as Covid has been for all of us, there are definite silver linings and lessons learned that inspire us to reimagine how our city looks, feels, and functions.” She looks forward to leading the community through that process to create a vision that embraces the new but retains focus on the city’s historic character. She says that’s a delicate balance that takes diplomacy, leadership, and experience.
Mayor Ray Russom listed some accomplishments of which she is particularly proud. She led the community through the Covid lockdown, producing nearly 60 videos to get information to residents while offering support and encouragement. She supported needs of businesses by advocating for relaxing rules, creating parklets, and awarding grant money. She strongly supported the recent decision to create a new public space downtown. She was involved in two major public art projects during her last term: the graduation banner project in 2020 and 2021, and the 2022 Strother Park Basketball Project spearheaded by resident Noah Pick. “In my next term I will work on sustainable water sources, continue support for the business community, bring forward more public art projects, and keep a keen eye on maintaining our historic character and sense of place as we grow and change.”
Mayor Ray Russom has been a resident of Arroyo Grande for over forty years. She lives with her husband Randy, her children Caleb and Eron, her Bernese Mountain Dog Shasta, and her two house-rabbits, Biscuits and Gravy. She is a high school government, economics, and world history teacher. Her hobbies include interior design, cooking, and watching her kids play water polo.
“Being Mayor is the most rewarding job I have ever had in public service,” she said. “I am blessed to serve the residents of Arroyo Grande and ask for their vote on November 8th.”
Reach Caren Ray Russom via email, phone, or online. firstname.lastname@example.org, 805-234-1270, and on Facebook.