At the Aug. 3 Healdsburg City Council meeting, Councilmember Joe Naujokas announced that he will not be seeking re-election for a second term.
During the councilmember report section of the meeting, Naujokas paused to gather his thoughts and made the announcement, citing the emotional stress and time drain of the job as well as a desire to make room for a more diverse council as reasons for his decision to part ways.
“It’s been a very emotional decision but it’s rough serving up here and it’s been a real drain on my time and emotional health and for family and my day job,” Naujokas said.
He said wanting to make room for more voices of people of color was another factor in his decision to not go for re-election.
“We all know that there are ways we can contribute to the community and ways we really can’t because of our position and one of those things I’d like to explore is what are those ways of contributing to the community on the other side of the dais now that I have this insider experience, but what really pushed me over the edge — considering the conversations we’ve had the last couple of months about equity and racial justice — I’m looking at so many bright faces female and faces of color and faces of experience and I’m happy to step aside and make room for those other voices,” he said.
Mayor Evelyn Mitchell thanked Naujokas for his service and for his thoughtful statement.
“We’ll miss you on the council,” she said.
Councilmember David Hagele also thanked Naujokas and recognized the tough decision.
“It is tough to make that decision. It's been definitely a rough last year and a half and as councilmembers we’ve been through the ringer with a lot of different things and it is a lot of work, so I appreciate the discussion you had,” Hagele said.
Councilmember Ozzy Jimenez said he’s proud of the work that Naujokas has accomplished in his time as a city councilmember.
“I am very proud of the work that you’ve done,” Jimenez said. “I voted for you and being a civil servant is a hard job, but as someone who believed in you and voted for you, I’ve been proud of the work you’ve done so thank you for your service.”
Naujokas was elected to the city council in 2016 after edging out then-incumbent Gary Plass in votes. After counting late and absentee ballots, Naujokas was declared the winner and beat Plass by just 20 votes.
Three Healdsburg City Council seats are up for election this November. As of July 27, the following candidates filed for the Healdsburg City Council office:
● Charles Duffy
● Ariel Kelley
● Doralice Handal
● David Hagele
● Skylaer Palacios
As of July 27, Charles Duffy has qualified.