Promising to tackle Redding’s problems like she approaches her work as a nurse practitioner—by collecting data and focusing on the root diseases, not the symptoms—Julie Winter kicked off her Redding City Council campaign on Friday with a noon rally on the Civic Auditorium lawn.
The lack of good-paying jobs is affecting Redding’s health, she said, and she promised a treatment plan centered on transforming Redding into a business-friendly haven for high-tech companies and manufacturers.
Those savvy entrepreneurs and owners of job-generating businesses can be lured to Redding if the city can do a better job of touting its many assets, including the Sacramento River which flows through the heart of the city.
Winter said Redding struggles in the areas of branding and marketing, and as a result, “we don’t tell our story very well, so others do it for us.” If Redding can capitalize on its natural resources and the “generous, talented and creative” people who live here, it can finally shed its image as a “wide spot in the road” and a convenient spot to fill up the gas tank.
Winter admitted she can’t single-handedly increase the number of good-paying jobs in Redding as a lone council member, but said her leadership skills and business experience have her well prepared to advance economic development programs, similar to the work of council members Brent Weaver (Blueprint for Public Safety) and Kristen Schreder (Redding Area Homeless Coalition).
One of government’s primary functions is to create the “healthy soil” from which beneficial projects can grow, she said. “I’m running for the council because I dream big and I ask: why not Redding?”
When the city was considering closing the Redding Convention Center to staunch a $700,000 annual deficit, Winter said she began working on a solution and ultimately asked fellow board members at Bethel Church to help with a strategic plan to keep the 2,000-seat facility open.
Ultimately, Advance Redding, a nonprofit arm of Bethel, was established and entered into a five-year lease to operate the building and renamed it the Civic Auditorium. Now in its second five-year lease, Winter said Advance Redding has turned a $700,000-a-year liability into a revenue source for the city, while offering residents a facility with dramatically improved seating, lighting and sound.
Winter said she was an early supporter of Turtle Bay Exploration Park’s plans to build a Sheraton Hotel and joined Rocky Slaughter in walking precincts to drum up support for Measure B, the successful ballot measure that cleared the way for the sale of city land to make the hotel project possible.
Focusing on solutions is much more productive than focusing on problems and barriers, Winter said.
“There is much more that needs to be done and I’m up to the task,” Winter said. “The story of Redding has not been told. It’s not finished, guys.”
In his introductory remarks, Bruce Dean, president and CEO of Redding-based Black Bear Diner, said he met Winter in the Redding Rotary Club and was immediately impressed with her leadership abilities.
Dean, whose restaurant chain now has 77 diners and 4,000 employees throughout the western United States, said he met with Winter to discuss the concerns and challenges business owners have, “and she was the first person I met who wrote things down. She actually listened to me.”
Winter is a 2012 graduate of Leadership Redding and currently serves on the Redding Community Development Advisory Committee. She is a member of the Women’s Fund of Shasta Regional Community Foundation, Turtle Bay, Friends of the Library, Shasta Historical Society, Shasta Living Streets and the Shasta Arts Council.
Winter and her husband of 33 years, Mike, a nuclear medicine tech, have two adult sons.
Winter joins candidates Adam McElvain, a business owner, and Lea Tate, a Redding psychologist, in a race for two seats on the council. Mayor Missy McArthur has already announced she will not seek re-election and freshman Councilor Gary Cadd has yet to decide if he will seek a second term.
The election is Nov. 8.
Photos by Jon Lewis.