There are three seats open for the Healdsburg City Council in the upcoming Nov. 3 General Election and there are six candidates vying for a seat, Charlie Duffy, incumbent David Hagele, Doralice Handal, David Jones, Ariel Kelley and Skylaer Palacios.
As part of our local election coverage, The Tribune will be publishing a series of candidate Q&A’s where we will ask each candidate the same five questions. Alphabetically, Skylaer Palacios is the next candidate in the Q&A series.
About Skylaer Palacios
Palacios, 25, is a local educator and youth counselor and has lived in Healdsburg for 20 years. As a student/youth counselor Palacios uses trauma-informed practices and is trained in nonviolent communication.
She is also a Healdsburg High School alumna.
In 2014 she was crowned Miss Sonoma County and spent the year promoting social issues and making special appearances at local events. The Miss Sonoma event was her first ever pageant and in addition to winning the title of Miss Sonoma County, she also won a $1,200 scholarship. Following the Miss Sonoma County competition Palacios participated in the Miss California pageant in Fresno.
She attended Sonoma State University where she majored in liberal studies with the goal of becoming an elementary teacher/counselor. Before transferring to the four-year university she attended Santa Rosa Junior College and studied dance. While studying she also worked at the Healdsburg SHED and various local restaurants in order to put herself through school.
Palacios is currently on the board of the Healdsburg Center for the Arts and is an avid volunteer with several local entities such as the Healdsburg Bulldogs, the Raven Theatre Dancing with the Stars program and the Trinity Baptist pantry and homeless supply drive.
Healdsburg Tribune (HT): What are the top three priorities/goals that you would want to address if you're elected to council?
Palacios: I will focus on identifying and amending any obstacles in the creation of affordable housing. Hotels and resorts should not have to be companions for housing our workers. I will advocate for inclusionary and representative government. I will promote the diversification of our economy.
HT: What is the focus of your campaign platform?
Palacios: I am passionate about finding solutions for the following issues: housing we can afford, economic diversification, cultural awareness and environmental stewardship.
HT: Are there issues/topics facing Healdsburg that haven't been addressed and if so, how would you address them?
Palacios: We have not addressed economic diversity in a way that has produced meaningful, lasting change and higher paying jobs. Working with the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce, the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, and the residents of Healdsburg, we can pinpoint specific industries we would like to see flourish in our town, such as the arts, health care, and eco-friendly enterprises, then find ways to promote them.
We have not given enough attention to our shelterless population. We need to have community input — including that of this specific group — on where we can house our peers, then take specific action.
HT: What are the most important personal qualities that you think you would bring to the council?
Palacios: I bring a unique, youthful perspective as someone who was raised here, as a woman, as an artist, and as a person of color. I am a critical analyzer, intelligent, practical and innovative. As a counselor, I am trained in nonviolent communication and trauma informed care. With this experience, I am confident I can lead us through this critical time and foster inclusive communication with residents who may not typically speak out.
HT: If elected, how would you make yourself open to residents who may want to start a dialogue with you on an issue or share concerns? How would you foster and encourage that open communication especially within marginalized groups?
Palacios: It is important to check-in with marginalized groups in-person such as our youth, Latinx, and senior communities. I know what it is like to feel your voice does not matter and I understand it takes effort to foster trust and communication. This is an effort I am more than willing to provide as I know making the best decisions for a community requires understanding the inputs of diverse perspectives.