Two vie for the open Colusa County Board of Supervisors District 2 seat in run-off race: 

Dave Markss:

1. Who are you? Married to Vicki Carbajal, father to Carissa Bowers.  Colusa County is where I have planted my roots, having lived in Colusa County for over half my life.  What has kept me here are the people; the sense of community. 

Viet Nam-era veteran, proudly serving in the United States Marine Corps.

Retired law enforcement officer from the County of Colusa (29+ years of combined service at the Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s Office). I own a Private Investigation business. Currently employed part-time as a Security Manager for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Elected to the Colusa City Council in 2016.

2. What makes you the best candidate? My varied background and skill sets make me the best candidate for Supervisor.  I served nearly thirty years in Colusa County law enforcement, ranging from an entry level rank to an executive level managerial position. Taking initiative and commitment demonstrates what my philosophy has been throughout my life; being part of a team, the collective strength of a team, and being a team leader with a purpose. I have a lifelong record of leadership, culminating in my election to the Colusa City Council.  I have substantial experiences of working with elected officials, labor organizations, and governmental budgets.

3. What top priorities would you champion, if elected? 1. Increasing the quality of our community- this includes public safety, flood protection, clean water, public health, robust infrastructure.

2. Economic development- we must do more to attract new businesses to our County; and do what’s necessary to retain the businesses that make Colusa County unique.

3. Maintain a balanced budget- cost of government continues to rise above the level of revenues.  This threatens the level of services provided by the talented and diverse workforce the County has assembled.

Daurice Kalfsbeek Smith:

1. Who are you? I am a fourth generation Colusa County resident, business professional, married to Andy Smith, branch manager for Nutrien Ag Solutions. I have two children, Cole, Washington State graduate in Ag Business Management, and Cade, seventh grader at Egling Middle School.  Part owner of Advanced PVA Technologies, Inc., Business manager, Hoblit Dealerships. Previously, VP of Operations for a Medical Device/PVA manufacturing company. Competencies include General Management, Strategic Planning, Lean Manufacturing Systems, Budget/Sales Forecasting, Team Building & Training, Policy/Procedure Development, Regulatory Compliance. I volunteer for multiple youth organizations. I currently serve as District 2 Commissioner for the Department of Fish and Game.  

2. What makes you the best candidate? I understand the importance of a strong local economy. Decisions need to be made that fiscally make sense to ensure viability for everyone in our community.  I come from private business and am determined to strengthen and diversify our economy. While considering short and long-term effects on public safety and infrastructure. We need proactive job creation so we can keep residents thriving and living in the community we love.  We need to find ways to support existing local businesses. I am not afraid to stand up and fight for what makes our community and county great.

3. What top priorities would you champion, if elected?  Water: Flood Control, Water Storage, Groundwater Management separate, but interdependent that need to be coordinated and kept equal priority. The County has made an effort to work within the restrictions of the State to push forward through some of these issues. We need to continue to keep fighting back against State regulations reducing our water rights. Agriculture is the top income producer for our County, and we need to protect this vital source. 

Ambulance: We need to address service coverage and what that looks like given the geographical size of our county. We are potentially risking resident safety.

A newcomer goes up against three incumbents in the race for the three available seats on the Colusa Unified School District board:

Erin Steidlmayer:

1. Who are you? I am a mother of three small children, a local business owner and an invested member in our community.  I was born in Hawaii, but spent the majority of my K-12 school years in Marin County, California.  I attended UC Davis as an undergrad and Santa Clara University for law school.  In 2014, I moved to Colusa with my husband, Luke, who was raised here.  Since moving here, I have immersed myself in local activities: Commissioner on First 5 Colusa, Burchfield Elementary School Site Council, Burchfield Chess Club, Raising a Reader, Youth Basketball and Omega Nu.

2. What makes you the best candidate? I care immensely about the quality of our schools, and I have the skills and experience important to the Board position.  As an estate planning attorney, I build trust and confidence with my clients to understand their family dynamics and business assets.  I’m trained to identify issues, analyze all sides, and provide effective solutions.  I am also an excellent listener, and not afraid to ask hard questions or dig deeply into difficult tasks.  As a new board member, I will provide a fresh perspective to make sure we continue to meet our district and community goals. 

3. What top priorities would you champion, if elected? My main goal is to support policy that will nurture students so they will enter their next endeavor with good interpersonal skills, curious minds, and a sense of responsibility.  I am very interested in afterschool programs to give our children additional opportunities to explore and engage.  I believe we have a great foundation for athletics and music, and I will continue to prioritize these extracurriculars while seeking others.  In addition, I am interested in employee retention that will encourage strong student-teacher relationships, and also reinforce how much we appreciate our school staff as a valued part of our district. 


Melissa Yerxa Ortiz:

1. Who are you? I am a mom, a wife, a business owner, and a champion for student opportunities. I believe that only local, highly invested residents can make and maintain Colusa as a great place to live. Professionally, I split my time between working on our family farm and my own consulting business. In my spare time, I love to go on adventures with my husband Antonio and our two children, read, exercise, and act as a champion for the three things I care most about: kids and education, entrepreneurship, and helping individuals and organizations identify and develop their natural talents. 

2. What makes you the best candidate? My approach is a little different in life and on the School Board. I am someone who likes to get to the point, speak directly and deal with challenges head-on. I believe that harmony often lies on the other side of conflict and my personal mission is “challenging others to be better versions of themselves”. Sometimes that can put a lot of pressure on the people I work and volunteer with. But it always comes from a place of love and a focus on the outcomes we all care about.

3. What top priorities would you champion, if elected? 1. Get our kids back on campus, as quickly and as safely as possible. 2. Make every decision with one goal – do what’s best for KIDS.  3. LISTEN to our community – including, and especially when their views differ from my own.

Kelli Griffith-Garcia:

1. Who are you? I am Kelli Griffith-Garcia born and raised in Colusa, after College, I returned to begin my career in education. I am married and have two school aged children who attend Colusa Unified. Having been in the teaching profession for 20 years I have first-hand knowledge of what our educational system is facing and what our students need. I am very active in our community and I feel it is my responsibility to give back to the community that has given so much to me. I find joy in knowing that I am raising my children in a community that has been a strong foundation in my life. 

2. What makes you the best candidate? I have served on the Colusa Unified School Board for the past 8 years. Throughout my tenure as a trustee we have passed a bond to improve safety and technological infrastructure in the district, continued to be committed to keeping small class sizes for K-12, and continually working toward making decisions that are best for children in our ever changing world. I’ve worked hard to create collaborative relationships with staff and community members to allow strong communication in achieving district goals. I pride myself in being transparent, honest, and accessible. 

3. What top priorities would you champion, if elected? This November you have a choice; I hope that you support my passion for believing in the potential of each student that enters Colusa Unified. If there is one thing this pandemic has taught us, it’s that returning to normal will not be sufficient, we need to close the gaps and inequalities that have created a strain on our youth. We need to stand together in creating an equitable education for all students so that they can become successful individuals in our communities. A vote for me is an investment in the students, community, and its greater good. Join me in believing that we CAN and WILL invest in our communities’ education, because everyone benefits when we keep education a top priority in our community. 

Michael Phenicie:

1. Who are you? I am a credentialed music teacher, retired in 2016 from the Colusa Unified School District, where I taught band, choir, guitar, classroom music, and jazz band for 31 years.

I was born in San Francisco, and earned my bachelor of music degree and teaching credential from San Francisco State University.  My wife, Yvonne, and I have two children, Chris and Aimee, and 5 grandchildren.

I am currently running for my second term as a trustee for the Colusa Unified School District. 

2. What makes you the best candidate? I have 38 years experience as a teacher of students in grades Kindergarten through High School , and four years as a trustee for the Colusa Unified School District.  I have always had a passion for seeing students excel at what they have learned, and I have always encouraged them to be the best they can be.  As a board member, I want to see that happen for all 1400+ students in our district.  I’m concerned about the needs of our students, staff, and community, and I listen to what they have to say about how we educate our next generation.

3. What top priorities would you champion, if elected? My priorities have always been in line with our District’s Mission Statement: “To provide a safe, student-centered, high quality education for ALL students”.  Every student deserves no less.  Distance learning has made our task especially tough, but I know and respect our teachers and staff, and I know they are going above and beyond to educate their students in a very trying time.  CUSD has terrific people giving their all for our students, and I could ask no more than that.

Incumbent, challenger vie for the open city of Colusa Treasurer seat: 

Robin Rauch:

1. Who are you? My name is Robin Rauch. I am a resident of the City of Colusa, California. I spent my youth in Oakland, California.  I am a graduate of St Mary’s College in Moraga, California. I moved to Colusa County in 1979. I moved to Colusa in 2000.  I have been employed by RAM Trucking, Inc. since 1989. The last twenty-nine years as the Office Manager. My duties there consist of being a Full Charge Bookkeeper up to but not including federal and state income taxes. I do all the payroll, permit, licensing and filing of the state and federal reports required by the various government agencies. I am also a co-founder of an association named A Hand Up. A Hand Up is made up of five churches in Colusa.  We have provided three meals per week to the hungry and homeless as well as temporary shelter for the last eleven years.

2. What makes you the best candidate? I am running for re-election as the Treasurer of the City of Colusa. The skills I have been trained to use as the trucking company has grown as well as the skills needed to raise funds as the  treasurer  of a non-profit association have provided a background of knowledge required for the position of Treasurer of the City of Colusa.  Most cities in California currently have the city council appoint the treasurer position.  Colusa and a few other cities in California prefer to elect members of the public as an observer of how the city allocates their funds. I have been diligent to review the information that has been given to me so that I can make reports to the council.

3. What top priorities would you champion, if elected? Reviewing the records of public funding can be time consuming and difficult to understand.  I would like to see more information made public by quarterly or semi-annually reporting of spending and anticipated revenues reported in the newspaper. The increased knowledge the citizens have of how their city officials spend the public dollars, the more the residents of the city will understand the immediate requirements for funding of city obligations. The residents will also be better prepared to partner with the city officials when there are funds available for future projects to maintain the best parts of the city and improve those areas that need attention.

Devin Kelley:

1. Who are you? I am Devin Kelley and a lifelong resident of Colusa. I have been happily married for 22 years and a proud mom to our son Braden and my two step-daughters. Over the last 20+ years, I have been continuously involved in our community. I have volunteered and been elected on numerous boards including Colusa Area Little League, OLL Catholic School Advisory Board, and numerous activities at Colusa High School. I am currently the President of Colusa County 4-H Council and the Stagehands Theater. I have volunteered at Colusa Fairgrounds for over 20 years and awarded Volunteer of the Year 2010.

2. What makes you the best candidate? I have been working at the Colusa County District Attorney’s Office for 15 years where I am currently the Fiscal Program Analyst. I am responsible for managing multiple budgets in different accounts, funds, and grants. I am familiar with governmental accounting, grant funding, and budget accountability. I have my Associates Degree in Business Management and I pride myself on accuracy, transparency, organization and time management skills. I have also been elected by our county employees as Treasurer for the Colusa County Employees Association since 2014.

3. What top priorities would you champion, if elected? If elected, I will work with the finance department and report to the council all moneys in an accurate and timely manner. I always give 110% to everything I do and pride myself on being honest, accurate, and dependable. I genuinely look forward to the opportunity to share my knowledge and past experience to serve as your City Treasurer and I appreciate your consideration and your vote.


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