Why Vote for Laura Sparks?
A vote for me is a vote for a courageous, outspoken voice. Our city council has done a good job running Cotati for many years, steadily and gradually improving the city through hard work and perseverance. But this year has been the worst year I can remember, and steady improvements aren’t enough right now. There are several open seats on the city council, and I can bring a fresh perspective and new energy to tackling the acute issues that threaten to overwhelm us. On the council, I will speak out and do the work to throw a lifeline to struggling local businesses, bring a much-needed sense of urgency to ending racial profiling, collaborate to start building affordable and attainable housing right away, boldly embrace ideas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and find ways to immediately begin supporting residents through the pandemic. My generation and younger people have inherited a world that is messed up in so many ways. Rather than growing cynical, I want to be part of the solution. I am ready to serve and hope you will give me a chance to do so!
Biography & Experience
I moved to Sonoma County in 2009 to teach astronomy at Santa Rosa Junior College’s Petaluma Campus, where I have worked ever since. After searching long and hard for a chance, my husband and I were able to move to Cotati in 2016. We were in love with the small-town feel, walkable paths and trails, and amazing small businesses and restaurants Cotati has to offer. Now that we’ve been here four years, I have also learned how many incredible, inspiring people live in Cotati. I am proud to have you as my neighbors!
I was moved to run for City Council through my work with the group Cotati Organized Against Racism (COAR) after the murder of George Floyd. I am passionate about working towards a future for Cotati in which people of color feel every bit as safe, protected, included and valued as white people do.
I grew up in Phoenix, AZ and attended Arizona State University on a scholarship funded by the university, as well as various part time jobs. I owe every success I’ve had to the opportunity I was given to attend a public college, since my family could not afford to pay for tuition or expenses. After graduating with a B.S. in physics in 2003, I earned an M.S. in physics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 2005. I wanted to pursue a teaching career at the community college level because I wanted other students to have the same opportunity I did: the ability to get an education and excel regardless of economic background. I was drawn to the California Community College system because its low tuition and support programs make it truly accessible to all.
I have gained valuable experience and skills through my work with the SRJC Academic Senate and as a department chair at the college that will translate well to local government, including: working to build community and harness the power of committed, passionate people to make positive change; navigating issues with strong personalities and strong opinions on all sides in a manner that is inclusive, transparent, respectful; understanding the workings and nuances of a large organization that is every bit as complex as a small city; and learning to hear what is unspoken and proactively seek out opinions and underrepresented voices. I am ready and willing to hit the ground running and throw all my skill and energy into serving the city of Cotati.