The Menlo Park Fire Protection District is more than 100 years old, and I am proud to be the second woman and the first Asian-American woman, in the 100-plus-year history of the Fire District, to be elected to the Fire Board. I was first elected in 2011 and had an uncontested race in 2015.
Over the last nine years, I have ensured that the Fire District’s finances remain healthy by supporting paying down $33.4 million in unfunded pension liabilities and managing reserve funds for new fire stations and equipment and resolved long-standing differences with our firefighters by leading successful negotiations in 2015 when I was board president after seven years without a contract. During this time Menlo Fire’s history, I supported and advocated for using technology to enhance emergency response, such as developing policies for using drone technology and financially supporting the fire district’s drone program. When I was board president in 2019, new fire stations in East Palo Alto and downtown Menlo Park were opened, and the Fire District initiated the community process to rebuild our 70-year-old West Menlo Park station. These stations allow for faster response times that save lives and property.
Menlo Fire now serves the highest and lowest income neighborhoods in San Mateo County. This year, confronting COVID-19, with California’s COVID-19 response unit, has proven that health disparities are linked to age, race, inequality, and access to healthcare and directly impact death rates. And while our incredible firefighters are first on the scene to help COVID-19 patients, and CERT-trained volunteers are neighbors helping neighbors during this public health crisis, we must do more. As a member of the Fire District’s CERT team and a licensed ham radio operator, I believe the Fire District must always look for ways to improve public safety in every neighborhood, regardless of socioeconomic status and ethnicity. With your support, together, we can meet the challenges ahead of us.