Laura has devoted her career to public service and is passionate about making our community, and our country, the best it can be for everyone.
For the past five years, she’s proven to be a responsive member of the Santa Barbara School Board who has made an impact during challenging times. She was the top vote-getter in the 2020 school board election, receiving broad support from voters from Isla Vista, Goleta, Santa Barbara and Montecito.
Laura’s parents moved to the area when her father became a professor at UCSB. She was born in Cottage Hospital and spent her early years in Goleta before her family moved to Santa Barbara. Laura is a graduate of our public schools. Her mother worked as a school nurse and taught at SBCC. Laura holds a Masters with Distinction from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor of Arts with Distinction in History from UC Berkeley.
For the past 25 years, Laura’s work has been about forging a more environmentally sustainable future, combatting poverty, fighting for immigration reform, and economic justice for all people. She began her career in government and public service in the Clinton White House, working first as an aide to White House Senior Advisor George Stephanopoulos and then as a speechwriter for President Clinton. She was Senator Ted Kennedy’s Communications Director in the U.S. Senate and was a senior aide on John Kerry’s presidential campaign.
For nearly 15 years, Laura has worked with national non-profit organizations, building a reputation as a respected advocate for environmental conservation and climate issues through senior positions at Ocean Conservancy and climate non-profit founded and chaired by Vice President Al Gore. Recently she has devoted much of her work to ending poverty in California with advocacy and outreach on the Earned Income Tax Credit, the strongest tool to alleviate poverty especially among working mothers. She currently runs her own Public Affairs firm called Capstone, helping clients such as The Ocean Cleanup advance their causes.
Excited to share her knowledge and experience, Laura has taught college courses on Congress and politics at the University of California Washington Center. She served as UC Berkeley's Director of Government Affairs, representing the campus both on the federal and state level. She served multiple terms on the UC Berkeley Foundation Board of Trustees.
Laura's Community Involvement Includes:
SERVING OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS
–The cornerstone of our democracy – Laura has served for five years on the Board of Santa Barbara Unified School District. Laura has navigated the pandemic to keep our students and staff safe, addressed the achievement gap, advocated for mental health service and social and emotional learning, listened to the many voices in our community, and championed campus sustainability.
COMBATING CHILDHOOD HUNGER IN SANTA BARBARA COUNTY
Laura spearheaded a coalition that is helping more kids throughout Santa Barbara County get free, healthy meals in the summer -- a time when hunger is at its worst. This work has resulted in 33% more meals served in over 50 places around the County. She was also part of the county-wide effort to strengthen Santa Barbara's food system.
ADVOCATING FOR WOMEN'S RIGHTS AND HEALTHCARE
As a past member of the Board of Directors, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Laura has given political leadership and support for comprehensive health education to this important organization at a time when women’s health and reproductive services are under assault.
SERVING THIS COMMUNITY AS A PERSON OF FAITH
Laura’s dedication to public service draws from her religious beliefs. She is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Interfaith Initiative, and a member of the congregation at Trinity Episcopal Church.
Laura is the past president of the Board of the Community Environmental Council. She’s been a leader focused on local solutions to our climate crisis by offering sustainable choices for the energy we consume – with specific focus on our school district.
STANDING UP FOR WOMEN
Appointed by then Supervisor Carbajal, as Chair of the County Commission for Women, Laura led an effort to improve the gender representation on boards and commissions throughout the county.
PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN FROM GUN VIOLENCE
Laura has helped the school district strengthen its safety plans and has been an outspoken champion of sensible gun reforms. As a mother of a 5th grader, Laura knows how real the fear of gun violence is.