- What motivated you to take a leap into politics, and the decision to become Mayor?
Initially, my decision to enter politics was circumstantial, rather than my idea. My former husband ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 1988. In campaigning with him, I was able to get to know many members of our community and understand their concerns better. Soon after that, I was asked to serve as a City Commissioner. After serving in that position, I was approached and asked if I would be interested in running for a seat on the City Council. Initially, I was very reluctant, but through the persistence of those that were asking me, I decided to face my concerns and fears about running for public office. I relented and was able to win a Council Seat by a large majority.
I became Mayor in 2019 when our former Mayor, Don Wagner, was elected to the County Board of Supervisors. Our City Code provides for the Mayor Pro Tem to fill the vacancy should a Mayor vacates the office before their term expires. When Mayor Wagner left office, I assumed the Mayoral office.
- How did your Motherhood shape your perspective in leading and championing for our community here in Irvine?
Being a mother helped prepare me for public office by teaching me the importance of living within one’s means and helping me understand the issues and concerns of others. As mothers, we know the importance of a family budget, helping our children, and caring for others. These skills and traits translate into skills that are important when faced with decisions that will impact our community.
- What has been your most memorable experience and rewarding one since you have been Mayor?
One of my most memorable and rewarding experiences involves being able to help move forward the building of the Great Park. I am especially proud that we have been able to attract and have voted to provide a home for the USA Water Polo team at the Park. This decision, coupled with our decision to build a volleyball field house will bring long term benefits to our residents, as well as providing a possible Olympic venue for part of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympic games.
- What advice would you share with moms who are at the crossroads in their personal life and/or professional life in pursuit of new endeavors?
I would advise moms not to be afraid to dream. If you do, opportunities will come your way. And when those opportunities appear, jump in! Don’t let your fears control you. In spite of your anxieties and concerns, be open to new experiences – step into them, and don’t be afraid of failure.
- How do you enjoy spending your time when not in the office?
I enjoy reading, hiking, running, bowling, and playing with my pets. But I especially enjoy the time I can spend with my grandchildren and my church family.
- What is your favorite go to Lunch or Dinner spot in Irvine?
My favorite place to eat is at home. I love to cook and enjoy being creating healthy meals. When I do go out to eat, my favorite is Thai cuisine.
- Can you share any fun facts about Irvine?
There are many historical fun facts about Irvine. Did you know that:
The U.C.I. campus site was sold to the University of California for just $1.
Much of Irvine used to be beautiful orange tree orchards, and fields where lima beans and asparagus were grown.
The first successful airplane flight in California happened in 1909 by Glenn Martin, on the Irvine Ranch.
In 1931 the speed of light was measured in Irvine, and Albert Einstein visited Irvine the same year.
Many streets in Irvine are named after famous scientists. Some are Von Karman Avenue, Tesla Avenue, Millikan Avenue, Kelvin Avenue, and Noyes Avenue.
Old Town Irvine was once named Myford, after James Irvine’s son.
A fun fact that I’m proud of, and was able to be involved with, is that more than one-third of Irvine is permanently preserved as parks, natural open space, and trails.