Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Garamendi Honors 12 Women from Glenn, Sutter, and Yuba Counties at his Annual Women of the Year Awards

October 19, 2017
Press Release

WOODLAND, CA – Today, at his 4th annual Women of the Year event, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, Yuba City, Davis, CA) honored 38 women, including twelve residents from Glenn, Sutter, and Yuba counties, who are leaders and visionaries in their communities. The women have all made significant contributions to their communities through public service, business, education, local government, and the military. The honorees from Glenn, Sutter, and Yuba Counties are Michele Blake, Barbara “Babs” Cotter, Baljinder Dhillon, Laurie Goodman, Judith Holzapfel, Christine Ivory, Jeannie Klever, Sharon Phippens, Jody Samons, Jaswinder Sandhu, Susan Scott, and Brynda Stranix.

“It’s always a special privilege to celebrate our women of the year winners,” said Garamendi. “They are outstanding leaders from diverse backgrounds who have worked hard to improve the lives of the people around them. Every one of these remarkable people has made a real difference.”

Following the award ceremony, Congressman Garamendi facilitated a roundtable discussion on the issues many women face in the workplace and what the federal government can do to help more women succeed. Key areas of concern were health care policy, supporting caregivers, and wage and employment discrimination.

“These roundtable discussions are crucial to help me to my work in Congress,” continued Garamendi. “Hearing the concerns and ideas of community leaders like today’s honorees helps me work on solutions in Washington.”

About the Women Leaders from Glenn, Sutter, and Yuba Counties

Michele Blake – Michele currently serves as the Executive Director of First 5 Sutter, where she has partnered with community organizations to create innovative programs benefiting local children. She is also a strong advocate for Mother’s Against Drunk Drivers and, together with her family, established the Nicole Bull Memorial Scholarship Fund.       

Barbara “Babs” Cotter – A retired educator, Barbara’s career spanned over a period of 38 years; 33 in the Yuba City Unified School District. As an elementary school teacher, she was inspiring, beloved, and revered by her students and fellow teachers alike. Barbara has also volunteered for the Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County, the State Convention Planning Board for Philanthropic Educational Organization, Middle Mountain Foundation, and Girls on the Run.  

Baljinder Dhillon – Currently the Sutter County Superintendent of Schools, Baljinder is dedicated to finding ways to fund programs that benefit teachers, staff and students. She is credited with authorizing cost-saving measures for the Sutter County Superintendent of Schools office by becoming more energy efficient and has authored proposals to fund the California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Grant.

Laurie Goodman – As Superintendent and Principal of the Winship-Robbins Elementary School District, Dr. Goodman has worked to implement many programs designed to serve children in need. She was also instrumental establishing the “Food for Thought” pilot project which works to minimize child hunger by providing families with healthy foods to take home over the weekend.

Judith Holzapfel – President of the Glenn County Board of Education, Judith’s many years of public service has made a difference in health education and quality of life for thousands of students and their families. Additionally she is an active member of many community service organizations throughout the county and devotes her time to helping youth, veterans, and the impoverished.

Christine Ivory – As President-elect of the Yuba-Sutter Farm Bureau, Christine is a dedicated advocate for the local agricultural community and has been instrumental in maintaining and growing it’s agriculture education programs, such as FFA and 4-H.

Jeannie Klever – Jeannie’s community and public service involvement is extensive. She has been a member of several nonprofit organizations, sponsored an annual Art Contest for Sutter Union High School students, and operated a Family Resource Center that delivered support services and resources to families of low income and special needs adults and children.

Sharon Phippens – In service to her country, Sharon was a first-hand witness of some of our country’s most interesting history through her work for two American embassies and the United States Justice Department. After returning stateside, Sharon continued her advocacy work in law enforcement, education, and social services.

Jody Samons – As Glenn County’s Community Development Director, Jody has secured over $200,000 in grants and worked with numerous companies to create over 200 new jobs in the area. Her overwhelming success in this role has had, and will continue to have, an undeniably positive impact on her community.

Jaswinder Sandhu – Jaswinder’s passion to help others has always been her priority. Having left a job in the private sector in 2003, she began her career as Site Manager for Mahal Plaza, a low income multi-family farm labor complex in Yuba City. Since then, she’s been credited with securing $313,000 in grant funding to build a safe passage route for children from Mahal Plaza as they walk to school.

Susan Scott – Susan has dedicated her life to helping children and has a strong understanding and appreciation of the role schools play in the growth and development of students. After 26 years of service to Marysville Joint Unified School District, performing many duties ranging from attendance, outreach, and school librarian, Susan was elected to the Marysville Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees.

Brynda Stranix – A proven leader who embodies a passion to help others, Brynda currently serves as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Yuba-Sutter Economic Development Corporation. Brynda takes great pride in her community, she currently serves in eleven officer roles on boards and commissions for economic development, and is a member of twenty-nine various advisory committees who deal with critical issues from healthcare to homelessness and women’s issues.

Full biographies can be found here.

Full List of 2017’s Women of the Year from the 3rd Congressional District

Sheila Allen, Davis, Yolo County

Barbara Beckworth, Dixon, Solano County

Michele Blake, Yuba City, Sutter County

Tranine Chisom, Fairfield, Solano County

Barbara “Babs” Cotter, Yuba City, Sutter County

Ronda DaRosa, Woodland, Yolo County

Robin Dewey, Davis, Yolo County

Baljinder Dhillon, Yuba City, Sutter County

Anna Eaton, Vacaville, Solano County

Laurie Goodman, Meridian, Sutter County

Barbara Graham, Vacaville, Solano County

Judith Holzapfel, Orland, Glenn County

Christine Ivory, Live Oak, Sutter County

Lynn Jewell, Vacaville, Solano County

Jeannie Klever, Sutter, Sutter County

Sakari Lyons, Suisun City, Solano County

Becky Marigo, Davis, Yolo County

Kate Mellon-Anibaba, Davis, Yolo County

Miriam Miller, Woodland, Yolo County

Rita Montes Martin, Davis, Yolo County

Catherine Morris, Dixon, Solano County

Sharon Phippens, Orland, Glenn County

Christine Ponce, Woodland, Yolo County

Kathleen Ramos, Vacaville, Solano County

Jody Samons, Willows, Glenn County

Jaswinder Sandhu, Yuba City, Sutter County

Susan Schwartz, Vacaville, Solano County

Susan Scott, Marysville, Yuba County

Michalle Shown-Rodriguez, Fairfield, Solano County

Tracee Stacy, Vacaville, Solano County

Brynda Stranix, Yuba City, Sutter County

Renee Tadlock, Fairfield, Solano County

Louise Walker, Dixon, Solano County

Amanda Walsh, Davis, Yolo County

Nancy Wells, Dixon, Solano County

Cathie Wicks, Esparto-Capay Valley, Yolo County

K. Patrice Williams, Fairfield, Solano County

Patricia Zetah, Vacaville, Solano County