Open Letter

Dear Neighbor,

I hope I will have the chance to meet you in coming weeks, as I campaign for your support to serve you in the state Assembly. I’m Elizabeth Betancourt and I am a local farmer, a small business owner, and a rural advocate residing in Shasta County.

I’m a proud native of rural California. I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and spent most of my working life in Northern California’s forests, fields, and rivers. I studied science and resource management at the University of California, Davis and got my master’s degree in forest and source-water management at Colorado State University.  While studying, I worked for the agricultural extension services, providing local ranchers and small landholders with education about water resources and land management.

I’ve worked for nearly twenty years in resources management and planning for all levels of government and the private sector. Protecting forest resources and drinking water supplies has been the objective of most of my work, with nearly all of it done in California’s beautiful Sierra-Cascade region. I’ve worked with local water purveyors, tribes, business and tourism advocates, environmental groups, timber companies, and many others to ensure a balanced approach to water use, planning, and management. I’ve advocated for smart and responsible forest management that would lead to increased employment, Native American Indian tribal empowerment, and safer communities. I was proud to be a part of the state’s response to the tragic and devastating Carr Fire’s impact on water quality, and am part of planning for prioritized management and investment in our northern watersheds in response to the elevated threat of wildfire.

I believe that local government is an essential part of ensuring that our taxes come back to our communities. That’s why I served for four years as a Director on the Western Shasta Resource Conservation District Board, as well as on the Community Development Advisory Committee for the City of Redding. Both of these posts have allowed me to fight to bring home resources for important projects and programs while making sure our tax dollars are spent wisely. I have years of experience advocating for rural values at the state Legislature and understand how to protect our community from ill-conceived proposals, at the same time ensuring that our important organizations and programs get the funding they need to succeed.

Lastly, I’m a proud small business owner. It’s small businesses that make our rural economy strong and drive the state’s economy. All of us, working together and doing what we do best creates more opportunity, more jobs, and a better quality of life for everyone. I’ve seen the challenges faced by rural communities dealing with a changing economy, mismanaged landscapes, increasing global economic pressures, and limited rural infrastructure funding. Rather than seeking answers from the outside, I believe that we, ourselves have the innovative ideas and drive to create the future we want for ourselves…we just need the opportunity. The North State is an essential part of California’s past, and provides solutions for California’s future challenges. This is why I am running to be a new voice for the North State in Sacramento. As your representative to the state Assembly, I have the experience and values necessary to help our rural communities thrive. I hope to earn your confidence and support.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth