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Special District

Soquel Creek Water DistrictCandidate for Director

Photo of Tom LaHue

Tom LaHue

Veterinary Surgeon/Director
11,895 votes (30.47%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Protect our groundwater supply from seawater intrusion through our groundwater replenishment project, continued conservation, stormwater recharge, and surface water transfers
  • Provide a safe, clean, reliable, sustainable water supply for the future, even in the face of climate change
  • Continue to be financially responsible, keeping ratepayer costs as low as possible, maintain transparency, and provide an excellent work environment

Experience

Experience

Profession:Veterinary Surgeon, Director, Ret. science teacher
Veterinary Surgeon, Pacific & Santa Cruz Veterinary Specialists (1999–current)
Director, Soquel Creek Water District — Elected position (2003–current)
Board Member, California Regional Water Quality Control Board - Central Coast Region — Appointed position (1992–1999)
Council Member, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council — Appointed position (1994–1998)

Education

California State University, Monterey Bay Teaching Credential,, Education, Teaching (1997)
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Doctor of Veterinary Medicine,, Veterinary Medicine (1982)
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Bachelor of Science,, Biological Sciences (1977)

Community Activities

Founder, President, Surfrider Foundation, Santa Cruz Chapter (1991–1993)

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • California Democratic Party

Organizations (3)

  • California Democratic Party
  • Sierra Club
  • Santa Cruz Democratic Women's Club

Elected Officials (15)

  • Mark Stone, California State Assembly member
  • Bill Monning, California State Senator
  • Zach Friend, Santa Cruz County Supervisor
  • Ryan Coonerty, Santa Cruz County Supervisor
  • Katherine Beiers, Santa Cruz City Council Member
  • Justin Cummings, Mayor, Santa Cruz City Council Member
  • John Leopold, Santa Cruz County Supervisor
  • Ed Bottorff, Capitola Council Member
  • Cynthia Mathews, Santa Cruz City Council Member
  • Sam Storey, Capitola Council Member
  • Yvette Brooks, Capitola Vice-Mayor and Council Member
  • Kristen Petersen, Capitola Mayor and Council Member
  • Rachél Lather, Vice-President, Soquel Creek Water District
  • Carla Christensen, Director, Soquel Creek Water District
  • Bruce Jaffe, Director, Soquel Creek Water District

Individuals (14)

  • Fred Keeley, former Speaker Pro Tempore California State Assembly
  • Dennis Norton, former Capitoa Mayor
  • Gayle Ortiz, former Capitola Mayor
  • Dan Haifley, former Executive Director, O’Neill Sea Odyssey and Save Our Shores
  • Robley Levy, former Santa Cruz County Supervisor
  • Jeff Young, Regional Water Quality Board Member
  • Robert Singleton, Excecutive Director, Santa Cruz County Business Council
  • Brent Haddad, UCSC Environmental Studies Professor and Founder UCSC Center for Integrated Water Research
  • Dr. Andrew Fisher, UCSC Hydrology Professor
  • Rachel Binah, Chair Emeritus of the Environmental Caucus of the California Democratic Party
  • Adele Gardner, Ret. Educator
  • Ken Kimes – Farmer
  • Kristin Sullivan, Capitola Environment Com. Chair, Ret.
  • Mark Sullivan, Environmental Attorney

Questions & Answers

Questions from LWV Santa Cruz County (2)

Over the next year, what do you see as the two biggest challenges to be addressed in this office?
Answer from Tom LaHue:

The biggest challenge is to protect our groundwater supply from further seawater intrusion, and to provide a long term sustainable water supply for our community.  To achieve this goal, we have developed a plan that includes groundwater replenishment with purified water to prevent further seawater intrusion and contamination of our groundwater supply.  This project, PureWater Soquel has been fully evaluated and chosen as an integral part of the Groundwater Sustainability Plan developed by the Mid-County Groundwater Agency and submitted to the State of California.  It is the only drought-proof option that will maintain a safe, reliable water supply even in the face of climate change.  We have obtained a $50M grant and $36M low interest loan from the State of California, as well as an $89M very low interest loan from the Federal EPA.  The project has been unanimously approved by our local jurisdictions, including the City of Santa Cruz and the California Coastal Commission.  Engineering firms have been selected for the components of the project and we are proceeding.  The challenge will be to effectively and efficiently carry this project through to completion while minimizing the cost to our customers.  Without this project, there would be contamination of our only water supply, economic hardship of inadequate water supply and state control. Postponing the project would put all grants and low-interest loans at risk.  The cost of water would be approximately 3 times higher and less water would be available

Another challenge is to negotiate a new agreement with the City of Santa Cruz for surface water transfers.  Our 5 year pilot project has been fairly successful, but that ends at the end of this year and we would like to continue.  Surface water transfers can only be part of our diversified water portfolio.  It is not a reliable source, especially in times of drought, but it can still be an immportant component worth working towards. 

I also want to continue to encourage conservation, work on stormwater recharge, maintain financial transparency, and keep taking good care of our excellent staff.

What in your background, personal or professional, has prepared you to meet these challenges?
Answer from Tom LaHue:

I am dedicated to protecting our groundwater and accomplishing our goal of having a sustainable, clean, safe, reliable, high-quality water supply for both current and future members of our community.  As a Soquel Creek Water District Director and Chair of the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Agency, I continue to work towards that objective utilizing my knowledge and experience in coastal water issues, my scientific background, and common sense.  I provide a strong voice for protection of water quality and have a reputation for serving with integrity, studying each issue carefully, being fiscally responsible, listening, and thoughtfully considering the best choice for the long term in a fair manner.  I served on the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, and as the founding president of the Santa Cruz Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.  I taught Environmental Science at Aptos High School for 14 years.

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