Letters to the Editor at the Napa Valley Register



Joelle Gallagher for Napa County Supervisor in District 1 

by Nick Cheranich
(Mar. 9, 2022)

The Sierra Club has endorsed Joelle Gallagher for Napa County Supervisor in District 1.

As a Planning Commissioner, Joelle Gallagher has shown her commitment to protecting Napa County's natural resources. She understands the critical need to reassess land use and water use in light of the pressures of drought and wildfire brought on by climate change.

Equally important is her work on behalf of Napa’s families as Executive Director of First Five and as Co-Chair of the Napa Housing Coalition. She is the candidate with the best understanding of the day-to-day issues facing Napa County’s residents from working families to winery owners and she has spent her career advocating for solutions.

Gallagher will provide the bold yet steady, competent and knowledgeable leadership our county needs to move forward.

Nick Cheranich, Chair
Sierra Club Napa Group


Joelle Gallagher for Napa County Supervisor in District 1

(Apr. 1, 2022)

Twenty years ago, I moved to the city of Napa from Chicago, fresh-faced and eager to make connections professionally and personally, excited to plant my roots here with future visions of my own with home and family.

Coincidentally, I met Joelle Gallagher at a Napa Chamber of Commerce mixer a month after my move, who was then Cope Family Center’s executive director. For those who don’t know the organization, Cope Family Center is a local nonprofit whose mission is to support families in a vast array of services such as crisis management, resource assistance, advocacy and civic engagement, all of which were established to help families thrive.

In two decades, I have seen first-hand how Joelle has championed for our families with her leadership at COPE and now, as the executive director for First 5 Napa County, whose mission is also around creating a healthy, safe, and thriving Napa County for children.

As the name suggests, much research has shown how the first 5 years of a child's life defines the outcome of their future, hence where establishing stability and wellness for the child (and family) is critical. I'll add, that when I became a new mother in 2005, when I was without the support of a bigger family network, I went to COPE for help, utilizing the parent education seminars and group gatherings. It was such a critical time for me and my needs that I was beyond grateful in knowing such an organization was present here in Napa County.

Professionally, I've worked with Joelle and her agencies as a creative partner in building out campaigns and messaging and recently as part of First 5 Napa Network, a division of First 5 Napa County’s first cohort — a network of community leaders working together to tackle some of the most challenging problems facing children and families here in Napa County. And, as you might have already guessed, to problem solve through innovative sustainable solutions. I am proud to be part of this community today and am grateful to Joelle for creating it.

But Joelle isn’t just an expert on health and human services in Napa County. She also has extensive experience with agriculture and land use. Before she served as the executive director of COPE, she was the executive director of the Farm Bureau and understands the agricultural heritage of our valley.

Joelle has also served on the Napa County Planning Commission for many years and is thoroughly knowledgeable about development in Napa County and how to balance development with preservation of our natural resources.

Joelle’s track record is proof and testament for advocating a healthier Napa County in all ways — past, present and future.

Additionally, Joelle has served, as co-chair of the Napa Housing Coalition, and is a board member for Teens Connect, a nonprofit supporting the mental health and wellness of teenagers, LGBTQ rights and more.

Joelle also was recently endorsed by the Sierra Club Napa Group, the Democrats of Napa Valley, the Napa-Solano Central Labor Council (AFL-CIO) and more.

Joelle is the candidate who has the most in-depth understanding of what our county needs with the experience to provide expert leadership to move into our future in the most healthiest and sustainable way possible.

When I consider my future here in Napa and that of my family, it is without a doubt that I support and endorse Joelle Gallagher for Supervisor in District 1. Joelle is hands down the most qualified candidate.

Julia Allen, Napa


Joelle Gallagher will improve Napa Valley's quality of life

(Apr. 2, 2022)

Quality of life is a crucial aspect of living in Napa County. Fresh water and clean air is important to our quality of life. This is why I am endorsing Joelle Gallagher.

Joelle has great integrity, has a lot of experience working in the public and private sectors and has served on many committees which have improved the quality of life in the Napa Valley.

She is very well rounded and cares greatly about the environment and the economic vitality of Napa Valley. Please join me and vote for Joelle Gallagher.

Sylvia Andrews, Napa


Joelle Gallagher stands with the LGBTQ community in Napa County

by Carol Whichard
(Apr. 24, 2022)

As the executive director of First 5 Napa County, Joelle has led, funded, and supported the following activities in support of the LGBTQ community.

Joelle is one of several leaders who formed the Rainbow Action Network in 2019. Rainbow Action Network is a group of LGBTQ youth and allies who aim to make Napa Valley a welcoming and supportive place for LGBTQ families, families of color, community members and visitors. RAN’s first action was to advocate for the Pride flag to be flown in June across all jurisdictions in Napa County. Now, the Pride flag is flown all over the county and in every city in June!

Joelle’s First 5 team and members of the First 5 Napa Network have brought families together, especially during the pandemic, by holding Rainbow Play Dates, Zoom story times, diverse winter holiday celebrations and Black History Month events. First 5 also established over twenty Rainbow Little Libraries throughout Napa County to give families access to bilingual, children’s books, including books about anti-racism, non-traditional families, families of color, LGBTQ families and gender diverse characters.

The First 5 team also created Rainbow Kits, which are distributed throughout the county to help preschool teachers and caregivers create more inclusive classrooms and teach children about the beauty of diversity. These Kits are now moving into First 5 groups throughout the Bay Area under the leadership of First 5 Napa County.

Joelle also was the founding board and chair of Teens Connect, now a part of Mentis, and has been an important advocate for teen mental health and LGBTQ teens in our community.

By her actions we can see that Joelle Gallagher is a fierce advocate for our LGBTQ community of adults, families and youth. Every community should be so lucky to have a Joelle Gallagher

Carol Whichard, Napa


Gallagher knows how to get the job done

(Apr. 25, 2022)

I have been a Napa resident for 30 years. As a former board member for Cope Family Center, I dealt directly with Joelle Gallagher. She led a multimillion-dollar organization in a highly competitive market with a finely-tuned view of what the community needed.

She responded with compassion and caring and a well-thought-out business model. Her attention to detail in business processes created a viable and stable environment for Cope and the staff after she left. She knows how to get the job done. I recommend her in the highest manner for District 1 Supervisor.

Chris Bias, Napa


Please vote for Joelle Gallagher

(Apr. 27, 2022)

Many people know Joelle for her tireless work for our Napa community and its families who most need our support. I applaud and admire her for this work. My admiration for Joelle, however, goes back to her days as executive director of the Napa County Farm Bureau. As its advocate, Joelle led the Farm Bureau to be a strong and determined voice for the Agricultural Preserve and all of the land within the county. Defending the Ag Preserve has always meant walking a fine line between the needs of the land and the business and farming interests of the people who control this environment. As those who created it in 1968 and have advocated for it ever since know, the Ag Preserve could easily be lost if we don't creatively and passionately defend it.

In one way or another, our unique and progressive land-use policies that protect this land are always under threat. We need people like Joelle who understand the long-term value of protecting our environment and educating the next generation of those who will live here. To be the effective leader that Joelle has become, she has had to develop the diplomatic acumen as well as the tenacity and perseverance to balance the long-term needs of both the environment and all of the residents of the county. I believe there could be no better steward of our agriculture and open space than Joelle Gallagher.

Jon-Mark Chappellet, Napa


It all changed when we met Joelle Gallagher

(Apr. 28, 2022)

I am writing to enthusiastically support Joelle Gallagher for Napa County supervisor.

Not a Napa native, my husband and I are among many military families relocated here over the years. We fell in love with the valley and had our first child at Queen of the Valley.

As both a psychotherapist and new mother, I was dismayed by the lack of attention for pregnant and postpartum moms experiencing depression and anxiety. A local moms club gave me an opportunity to strengthen their peer support, and we needed the backing of the community to further our outreach efforts. It all changed when we met Joelle Gallagher.

Joelle heard about how we were trying to target maternal mental health in Napa. She contacted longtime community advocates to hear about our vision. She learned about our struggles, our needs and our hopes to support new parents from conception through birth, and those grieving losses along the way. Joelle welcomed us as allies and connected us to like-minded agencies who championed our cause alongside her.

Through Joelle, we were invited to sit down with First 5 Napa, Napa County Public Health, Queen of the Valley’s Community Outreach and the Cope Family Center. She fostered personal connections and elevated our efforts to bridge our message of support to the Latinx community, LGBTQ folks and women of color.

Having worked as a social worker in large cities and across the globe, I am well-acquainted with the red tape that often sinks a good idea. Joelle Gallagher proves there are still leaders committed to listening to our needs, bringing us to the table and facilitating positive change. I hope you vote for her, and I hope you take your ideas to her so you can see them shine as brightly as I have.

Jennifer Hampton, LCSW, Napa


Gallagher, Chouteau endorsed by Napa County Democratic Central Committee

(Apr. 29, 2022)

Joelle Gallagher, candidate for supervisor District 1, and Anna Chouteau, candidate for supervisor District 3, were endorsed by members of the Napa County Democratic Central Committee at the group’s April meeting. After hearing from candidates and hearing pro and con presentations on Measure L, the Central Committee also made a unanimous endorsement of Measure L. The fire protection sales tax, also called the Napa County Wildfire Prevention and Suppression Measure, will be on the June primary ballot. Authorizing an additional sales tax of 0.25% for 10 years will generate an estimated $10-15 million per year for fire protection, fuel reduction and fire prevention.

Ballots will be arriving in the mail soon for this important election. We urge all eligible voters to make their voices heard now and again in November.

G. Anthony Phillips, Chair, Napa County Democratic Central Committee


Joelle Gallagher, leader and community advocate

by Carole Rehbock
(May 1, 2022)

I met Joelle Gallagher over 10 years ago when I moved to Napa and started volunteering at Cope Family Center and soon became a board member for seven years. I had the privilege of seeing Joelle’s leadership skills as she worked with the board, staff and community. She exemplifies the qualities of what a true leader should be. In my role as leadership consultant for many years I quickly could see that Joelle’s leadership mastery was rare, exceptional and she was a role model for her staff and the non-profit organizations where she participated.

She is an excellent communicator; listens actively, engages collaboratively with all the people she comes into contact with, holds a vision and motivates those around her to want to work with her and for her. She consistently provided a positive, trusting, supportive, environment which led to a very high functioning organization. Cope’s growth throughout Joelle’s tenure stemmed from her strong beliefs that in order to make the most successful contribution the organization needed to create employee satisfaction and development, be visible and impactful to the larger community and increase the services that Cope could provide.

My interactions with staff were always congenial and work-focused so we had a good time while getting things done, and this atmosphere permeated throughout Cope. What most impresses me about Joelle over all these years is her commitment to making Napa a better place to live and work. She cares deeply and is passionate about children and families and works each day to find resources and services to help those who need it. This is why I think Joelle Gallagher is the best candidate for supervisor.

Carol Rehbock, Napa


Joelle Gallagher can’t be bought

by Joan Bennett
(May 4, 2022)

It is a sad comment to make, but political offices can still be bought with large donations from donors who hope to have influence over willing electors. This seems to be somewhat the case in the District 1 supervisorial race.

It takes a lot of money to run a campaign and many people think the more money a candidate can raise, the more likely they are to win. Sadly, many people value affluency over experience no matter where the money comes from.

In the case of the District 1 Supervisorial race, Trouchard has raised most of her money from outside the county and from giants in the wine industry like Darioush, Ceja and Peju.

Joelle Gallager’s grassroots donations come from people who know her from her long history in the valley. She has been executive director of Cope Family Center, executive director of Napa County Farm Bureau and Grape Growers Association, and currently serves as the executive director of First 5. That’s why City of Napa mayor Scott Sedgley, superintendent of Napa County Office of Education Barbara Nemko, city councilmember Liz Alessio and Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht have endorsed her.

Joelle is the most qualified to be a Napa County supervisor. Her knowledge of how the government works, or doesn’t, is invaluable.

I want a supervisor who will represent not just District 1 residents, but all of Napa County, because decisions made by the Board of Supervisors impact all of us.

I know Joelle and her passion for serving to make a better life for all people. Who will be your choice?

Joan Bennett, American Canyon


Joelle Gallagher has the compassion, experience Napa needs

by Kathryn Winter
(May 5, 2022)

I have known and worked with Joelle Gallagher for over 30 years and have the utmost respect for her intelligence, compassion, and common sense. I first met Joelle when I served on the Napa County Planning Commission and Joelle was the director of the Napa County Farm Bureau and the Napa Valley Grape Growers Association, a job now held by two people! I admired the way Joelle balanced advocacy for agriculture with the preservation of the environment, a perspective she maintains today.

Years later when we both directed nonprofit agencies, we served as board members of the Napa Valley Coalition of Nonprofit Agencies. Together we attended public meetings to advocate for living wages and affordable housing for our underserved clients. Joelle’s unique grasp of community needs as well as complex land use issues makes her a superior candidate. Joelle will serve with passion, and she has the courage to make the right decisions for the entire community.

Kathryn Winter, Former Napa County supervisor, District 4


Gallagher has the experience, values needed to be supervisor

by Teresa Zimny 
(May 6, 2022)

I am writing this letter to express my enthusiastic support of Joelle Gallagher for District 1 supervisor. I grew up in Napa, worked and raised my family here, and have voted in every local election since I was old enough to do so. Napa is special to me, and I am deliberate in my homework when determining the candidates I vote for. I know with my mind, heart and soul that Joelle is the right candidate for supervisor for our district at this time.

I have known Joelle for about 30 years, first through her work as the executive director of Cope Family Center and then as a community leader with First 5 Napa County and the Napa Housing Coalition. As the executive director of Cope, Joelle teamed with business and elected leaders, as well as partners across community sectors including the Health and Human Services department in which she and I collaborated regularly on programs that benefited working families. Her understanding of the issues that Napans care about is as deep as it is broad.

Joelle was also executive director of the Napa County Farm Bureau and is currently a county planning commissioner, demonstrating her breadth of experience in land-use issues. Land-use issues tend to get the spotlight as a key focus area of county supervisors. However, the purview of a supervisor is much more than land use and includes public safety, public health and human services. Joelle’s span of knowledge and experience across equity, social justice, working family issues and land use is unparalleled in my opinion.

Joelle’s leadership and management acumen are well documented through her various roles in the county over the years. More importantly, Joelle is a caring and highly empathetic person who reaches out to others to collaboratively solve problems. Her established relationships within the county and non-profit community will enable her to “hit the ground running,” when elected.

Additionally, she has forged relationships with members of the city council that will go a long way to enhancing the county-city relationship necessary to innovate and solve the problems facing residents. She understands that the role of a supervisor is to ask the important questions and to thoroughly understand the outcomes of her votes on her constituents and the public at large. Critical to our times is that Joelle’s primary interest is in making decisions that are in the best interest of her community and to not be solely influenced by any individual or special interests. I am confident she will take her public role seriously, will lead with transparency and will demonstrate care and pride for all the staff who make the county work.

We need authentic leadership. Joelle says what she means and means what she says, is humble and approachable. She is the leader we need now making the tough decisions on behalf of Napa residents. Join me and vote for Joelle Gallagher for Supervisor District 1 on June 7.

Teresa Zimny, Napa


Joelle Gallagher hosts Peter Coyote

by Eric Zimny 
(May 6, 2022)

Joelle Gallagher, Board of Supervisors candidate for District 1, hosted an afternoon meet-and-greet with legendary actor, narrator, author and biographer Peter Coyote. For those not familiar with his 50-plus years of work, his voice narration on documentaries such as those produced by Ken Burns is most distinctive and iconic.

I must admit that I was initially unclear what Mr. Coyote could add to a local campaign in Napa County. I found out soon enough during his question and answer with KVYN-FM’s Barry Martin and the audience present at Churchill Manor on Brown Street. He was able to translate his life long efforts to grapple with the dilemmas that still plague us today.

As he made clear in his remarks, he is neither a politician nor an activist. He is someone who stresses lifelong learning and the importance of one's personal successes and failures and to take responsibility for them; being assiduous (showing great care and perseverance) is one of his favorite adjectives.

I had formulated a question for him when the time for audience queries elapsed. After contending with many others seeking his company, I was finally able to have my moment.

I asked him, “former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill is known for the aphorism, ‘all politics is local.’ How do you think that applies to Joelle Gallagher?”

He responded “I think that fits her philosophy perfectly. She is justifiably proud of her many years of successful leadership in Napa County and it is clear that she would represent the residents of Napa from that local perspective. The citizens of Napa would be well served by her.”

And I wholeheartedly agree. I would dare say that Joelle is a very assiduous person.

Eric Zimny, Napa


Joelle Gallagher cares about Napa County

by Karen L. Smith 
(May 6, 2022)

I would like to add my voice in support of Joelle Gallagher for Napa County supervisor for District 1. I had the privilege of working closely with Joelle while I served as the Napa County public health officer and she was the executive director of COPE Family Services. Joelle built COPE from a small agency providing home visiting services to struggling families with young children to the large multi-service agency now called the COPE Family Center. Her service to children and families most in need in Napa County continued when she left COPE to serve as executive director of First 5 Napa County.

Joelle’s long standing service and commitment to improving the lives of the people who call Napa County home is well known to many people, but Joelle brings much more than this to the table. As county health officer, I first worked with Joelle on the implementation of a very technically complex new, state-funded home visiting program. I was incredibly impressed with Joelle’s strategic assessment of the potential pitfalls of the program as envisioned by the state and the strong management skills she employed in implementing the program in a way that maximized its benefit to the families being served while avoiding many of pitfalls that led to the program’s failure in other counties. Whether it was issues of workforce or data collection, or grants management, Joelle’s knowledge, skills and creativity were the key to success.

Over the years, I have watched Joelle employ many of these same skills in her work at First 5 and as a Napa County Planning Commissioner. I know that being a good manager and understanding how county and state governments work and how the money flows aren’t “sexy,” and don’t lend themselves to campaign slogans or yard signs, but these are exactly the skills we need in our elected officials.

Vision, commitment, and compassion go a long way – and Joelle clearly has these – but understanding the complexity of how government works and what goes into managing a complex organization like Napa County will be essential to getting things done and making changes that benefit the people who live in Napa County.

I believe that Joelle Gallagher is a leader who has the knowledge, skills and experience to ensure the county makes the best use of the millions of dollars currently flowing from the state to the county and to ensure that the Napa County Board of Supervisors keeps the needs and wants of the residents of Napa County front and center.

Karen L. Smith, Napa


Joelle Gallagher’s experience in human-centered design will benefit Napa County

(May 7, 2022)

We live in momentous times and face many critical and urgent issues both locally, nationally and globally. In our beloved Napa community these include the climate crisis, increasing drought and wildfire danger, water shortages, land use issues, affordable housing and more. We urgently need new leadership from leaders who are knowledgeable, innovative, courageous, compassionate, inclusive and ethical.

Joelle Gallagher is such a leader and can provide the new kind of leadership needed for these challenging times. I urge everyone in District 1 to vote for Joelle Gallagher for Napa County Board of Supervisor in the upcoming election in June 2022.

I have recently retired from Napa County Public Health after 32 years of public service. I have known Joelle as a trusted colleague and friend for over 20 years, and in my role as director of Public Health Nursing, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health director, and a Napa County First 5 children and families commissioner, have worked closely with Joelle on numerous projects, initiatives and collaboratives to improve the health and well-being of our community members and community.

Joelle has a unique and diverse set of skills, experience, knowledge and expertise that far exceeds those of any of her fellow candidates. She has been dedicated to and worked in the community for over 25 years and has a deep understanding of our community from many different perspectives and has forged many important working relationships. This includes working on behalf of children and families as executive director of First 5, creating safe and nurturing environments for families as the executive director of Cope Family Center, protecting agriculture as the executive director of the Napa County Farm Bureau and the Napa Valley Grape Growers Association, and serving as a Napa County planning commissioner.

Joelle is highly intelligent, self-aware, brave, inclusive, just and an authentic servant leader who believes in and embodies true shared and collaborative leadership.

Most importantly for our times, Joelle has expertise in human-centered design after attending training at the renowned Stanford University in 2017. Joelle has been instrumental in bringing human centered design as an approach to the First 5 commission and many other sectors in the community and using it to address a number of complicated issues. Human-centered design uses empathy as a foundation to solve complex problems for people who are part of and use social systems. This requires going to people inside of systems and really listening deeply, being curious and understanding their own experiences, what motivates them, what they believe in and is most meaningful to them.

From this deep understanding and knowledge gained from empathic interviewing, solutions can be created to better serve everyone in the system and to address both intended and unintended consequences of our problem solving.

Two examples of Joelle’s human-centered design work include working with medical providers, hospitals, community-based organizations, and clients to address perinatal mood disorders and substance abuse during pregnancy, and working with the school district, parent liaisons and Latinx families to remove obstacles and improve kindergarten entry.

This is not business as usual, such as using needs assessments and surveys which are valuable tools but often do not result in sustainable change.

Humans and human systems grow and change in the context of meaningful and supportive relationships, and human centered design is a way to understand people deeply and create sustainable solutions that address the complexity of our times and result in inclusive benefits for everyone in our community.

We can no longer afford to make decisions and solve problems for the benefit of only certain individuals, groups or sectors in our community. All the issues we currently face, we must face together. Joelle is a visionary leader who has the gifts and talents to lead us during these difficult and divisive times when we have the responsibility and opportunity to create a healthy and thriving community now and for the future.

Please join me in supporting and voting for Joelle Gallagher as District 1 supervisor.

Laura Keller, Napa


Gallagher is deeply involved in the Napa community

(May 9, 2022)

Napa Valley residents want to be heard by their elected supervisors and trust that decisions will be made on their behalf after careful consideration.

Joelle Gallagher has been deeply involved in the Napa community as a member of the agriculture sector with the Napa Valley Grape Growers Association and Napa County Farm Bureau, executive director of First 5 which offers support for young children, former executive director of the Cope Family Center, and as a current member of the Napa County Planning Commission. Her credentials are broad and informative. She has served extensively as a community contributor and a Napa Valley leader.

Joelle listens carefully before taking a position that may have an individual and collective impact, regardless of a person’s financial means, language, culture, political position, or personal orientation. Her priorities include land and resources protection, workforce housing, quality jobs, community health and resilience, and the potential impacts of climate change.

Joelle’s approach to problem-solving and concerns for the community embrace equity, empathy, and inclusion. It means more than ever before to honor these qualities and expect them in our leaders.

Choose Joelle Gallagher on your ballot as you vote for District 1 supervisor.

Kevin Hansen, Napa


What a fresh idea cannot do

(May 14, 2022)

I read the May 2 opinion piece “Napa County needs fresh ideas.” The narrative about Napa being “stuck in the status quo,” needs unraveling. Where did this come from?

Napa is not stuck. Status quo? It’s more like status go! Napa is in a period of high growth, with enormous challenges for jobs, housing, elementary school education, understaffed city services, extreme weather conditions, and more. We are not stuck. Not by a long shot.

So where is this narrative about Napa being “stuck in the status quo,” coming from? It’s a page from a political handbook. It’s a ploy that first time candidates can use to suggest that a fresh idea is a better bet than solid experience. I’m not buying it. I want experience, and the more, the better.

I want a county supervisor with decades of experience. This is no easy job. This is a position that requires a deep understanding of the biggest issues facing Napa County: Housing and the health, education and well-being of working families and children. I want a county supervisor who’s been working on housing solutions for over a decade. Someone who’s already on the job providing early childhood education and opportunities for children in Napa.

I want a county supervisor who understands how our county government works. I want someone who’s read hundreds of thousands of pages of state, city and county documents over the past 30 years. This is experience that brings context to complex situations. Understanding how each component piece works is essential to understanding how the whole County mechanism works. This is something a fresh idea cannot do.

I want someone who’s not just saying the words. I want someone who’s doing the work. Joelle Gallagher is doing the work, and she’s committed to more work ahead.

Maureen Trippe, Napa


We need an ethical, thoughtful, and compassionate supervisor

(May 16, 2022)

Joelle Gallagher’s 30-year career as executive director at First 5 Napa County, COPE Family Center, the Napa County Farm Bureau, the Napa Valley Grape Growers Association, and as a county planning commissioner, has given her a unique perspective on the sometimes-conflicting needs our diverse community. Joelle has worked to protect agricultural land and ensure that Napa continues to have a thriving economy, while tirelessly working on behalf of the community-at-large to provide mental health services, increase affordable housing, and make sure that Napa County is a safe, healthy, and welcoming place for all our citizens and visitors.

I urge you to remember that the supervisor’s race is not a popularity contest, but an opportunity to elect a candidate who will make decisions about the future of Napa County for many years to come. We need a leader like Joelle, who is ethical, thoughtful, smart, compassionate and willing to listen to differing points of view. Please join me in supporting Joelle Gallagher for Supervisor.

Luisa Heymann, Napa