Laurie Ender is seeking her first reelection. There are three challengers for her seat and Bob Kellar’s. Ender will have to prove to voters that she’s done a good job in the past on the City Council and will continue to do so, given a new term.
Mayor Laurie Ender describes herself as a “stay-at-home mom who’s never home.”
For nearly four years, Ender certainly hasn’t been home two Tuesday nights out of the month. That’s because she’s been at City Hall as a member of the Santa Clarita City Council.
“Being on the city council is the most wonderful job I’ve ever had. It’s so gratifying to be able to help people and serve the community. I have loved the past almost four years and just hope to continue serving the residents,” said Ender.
Two seats are open for the April 10 election, hers and that currently occupied by Council Member Bob Kellar who is also seeking reelection.
Ender says there are two issues at the top of her mind as the city council moves forward: a balanced budget and public safety.
Ender says there are cities all over the state facing bankruptcy and balancing a budget is sometimes taken for granted in Santa Clarita.
“In Santa Clarita we haven’t had that problem. And so, I think, the number one job is to be fiscally responsible and make sure that we are spending the taxpayers money wisely,” Ender said.
A recent challenge to the city’s budget has been the State’s grab of redevelopment money. Governor Jerry Brown will take the redevelopment money that has been squandered in other cities and put it towards funding education.
“There have been abuses of the redevelopment system in other cities. We have not had that in our community. So, unfortunately it feels a little bit like we’re being punished for some of the problems that have been created elsewhere,” Ender said.
Even within the Santa Clarita community Ender says there’s a misunderstanding of how important redevelopment money is to the economy. Some people she says wonder why so much money is being spent to revitalize Old Town Newhall and not other parts of the city.
“The truth is the money that is spent in the redevelopment area of Newhall doesn’t come straight from the general fund. It comes from a special fund that’s been set up for redevelopment. So it’s tax money that’s coming from that neighborhood and only being spent back in that neighborhood to try and make improvements there so that the businesses will be more successful,” Ender said.
Back in 1992, Ender and her husband Chris relocated to Santa Clarita from Burbank so their children would be safe and could attend good schools. Maintaining that lifestyle for residents of Santa Clarita is her second goal if she’s reelected.
“If you’re not safe in your home and where you work you really have no quality of life,” Ender said.
During her first tenure Ender cites the city’s takeover of the public libraries as one of her finest accomplishments.
“It’s been wildly successful. We’re so happy with the outcome. There obviously was some controversy involved, but I think its one of those issues where people weren’t sure whether or not we could do it and if it would work. And I think we’ve seen in the last few months that it has worked and it’s been very successful,” Ender said.
Ender says she is counting the days until the new library opens in Old Town Newhall.