Health care, Research & Tech Park and addressing child care concerns in Woodland – Daily Democrat


Mayra Vega recently took over as Woodland’s Mayor — a position held by Councilman Tom Stallard for the last year — after the city’s annual mayor rotation.

Vega was one of the newest council members and represented District 5 — the Spring Lake community — for nearly two years. She also works in the health care industry as a regional business development executive for Labcorp, which is a global life sciences company that brings diagnostic testing and drug development together, according to its website.

“The work that I do is around strategies for meeting community health needs from a health system perspective,” Vega noted regarding Labcorp. “I’ve been doing that for over 10 years working for health systems in Northern California.”

Vega said the pandemic really changed the way health systems deliver care to patients and how they access their health care, which is something she considers heavily as a representative for the city.

“I’m thinking about families and individuals that lost their health insurance coverage because they lost their jobs,” she emphasized. “Losing access to health care insurance has really put a lot of pressure on families financially. That’s been a big challenge and something that I talk about often is ensuring that communities have access to high-quality health care is so vital to society and the economy.”

Looking back at the last year, Vega said she saw a lot of community members and organizations rally together to support each other through initiatives supporting small businesses and the restaurant community in town.

“For me, 2021 and the sense of community that it brought out in all the residents during this pandemic was something that I’m so proud of,” she highlighted. “I was so blessed to be able to see that from a councilwoman’s perspective because I got to see a broad base of community members that came together to support each other.”

As mayor, Vega hopes to focus on the fruition of Woodland’s Research & Technology Park in 2022, which she believes will help continue to modernize the city’s agricultural economy while giving locals more opportunities for high-paying jobs without having to leave the community.

“I’m very excited about the prospect of being able to bring more diverse jobs that are gonna be here locally,” she said.

However, she also stressed the importance of giving community members who have been in Woodland for many years the ability to age in place, educate their kids locally and have good jobs ready for them when they grow up.

“I think a lot of Woodland’s history is so special and a lot of that includes families that have been here for generations,” she added. “The importance and the responsibility that I feel as the mayor now is to bring those employment and upward mobility opportunities to long-term residents.”

She mentioned the city’s cooperation with Woodland Community College to help develop programs — such as the Woodland Promise Program — that set students up for success and provide training for many different fields of work as something that is helping provide those opportunities.

Vega also emphasized that she’s recognized the needs of working families after the major disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to them including stay-at-home orders, virtual learning and a lack of child care.

“One of the things that is going to be a challenge and an opportunity for us is to better support those families so that they can continue to work to support their livelihood,” Vega stated. “I’m really looking to partner with community stakeholders to support those families so that we can have thriving families in Woodland.”

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