A creative problem-solver with four generation deep roots in Monterey County, Wendy Root Askew is a mother to a young child, wife to an architect, and daughter to a parent educator and retired Army Colonel. As County Supervisor, Askew is committed to advancing policy that promotes the ability of families – in all their forms to have their basic needs met in safe, connected communities where there is opportunity for personal fulfillment, and access to protected natural resources.
Wendy is committed to supporting all Monterey County residents to have their basic needs met in safe, connected communities where there is opportunity for personal fulfillment and access to protected natural resources. Her priorities as Supervisor include: social equity, healthcare access, high quality services, access to affordable child care, water and mass transit solutions, increased accountability and customer service for County services, housing, and recovery from the pandemic.
Housing for All
Our workforce and future generations, like my son and your children, should be able to afford to live here. I’m proud to be leading regional efforts to address housing for all Monterey County residents and their families, including:
- Fighting for our fair of state funding for Veteran housing
- Co-founding the Monterey Peninsula Housing Coalition to provide focused, regional collaboration and leadership to these efforts
- Increasing the number of shelter beds in Marina for families in need
- Successfully working with the community to open a Seaside homeless center
- Leading the effort to identify surplus School District property for development as affordable housing for teachers and staff and homeless families
Community, Neighborhood & School Safety
Every family, worker, and visitor in Monterey County deserves to feel safe. As MPUSD Trustee, I’ve worked to keep our kids safe making decisions based on reducing real risks faced by our youth, such as mental health support and accident prevention. As a County legislative aide, I’ve brought millions of dollars to District 4 to reduce and prevent gang and youth violence by focusing on prevention. I started a Monterey County Moms Demand Action group for common sense gun control. I view public safety in its broadest sense to include safe streets, strong public health systems, and communities that are well connected.
Working collaboratively with local residents, nonprofit leaders, the faith community, government leaders, and community safety partners, I led the effort that resulted in Salinas being selected as one of only 6 cities for the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention, a program commended by the Monterey County Grand Jury for its groundbreaking work.
As a founding member of Salinas’s Community Alliance for Safety and Peace, I secured millions to combat gang violence in our communities. WIth strategic investment and coordinated prevention programs, crime rates have dropped.
I remain an active participant of the Seaside Youth Violence Prevention Group, securing funding for Monterey County Gang Violence Prevention Initiatives run by local non-profits.
In my work with the Transportation Agency for Monterey County, I’ve championed increased funding for the Safe Route to Schools program, developing safety plans for streets around every single school in Marina, Seaside, and Salinas.
Good Jobs, Economic Development & the Environment
We must prioritize the creation of local, living-wage jobs that allow families to live in the community where they work. At the same time we must support the growth of local businesses that enhance our quality of life, protect our valuable natural resources, maintain our thriving tourism and agriculture industries, and create good-paying local jobs.
Climate change threatens the Monterey County environment and economic future and demands regional action, beyond an internal focus on conservation. I championed the creation of Monterey Bay Community Power, yet it can and must do more to lead our region in the development of renewable non-carbon-based electricity. The County must continue to fight to uphold the voter approved 2016 Measure Z ban on fracking. Essential to environmental health is balancing the placement of housing near jobs, designing transportation systems that support the efficient movement of people, and working collaboratively on solutions to ensure a long term supply of fresh water and clean energy that our residents and businesses can afford and rely on.
The COVID pandemic has exposed pervasive inequities — in healthcare access, wages, paid sick leave, paid family leave, educational opportunities, housing, childcare, health outcomes, internet and computers — that have not occurred overnight, nor will they be solved quickly. I am committed to doing what it takes, for as long as it takes, to create a more just and equitable community for every resident.
Quality Public Schools
As a Trustee on the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District Board of Education I fought to ensure that every child has access to quality learning, with 1:1 technology for Distance Learning and universal access to internet.
I championed the Bright Beginnings Early Childhood Initiative to coordinate regional investments in early care and learning. I secured the expansion of transitional-kindergarten at MPUSD doubling the number of 4 year old eligible and including TK at every elementary school. I championed the investment of millions of Measure P funds into facilities improvements at our preschools in Marina and Seaside, expanded the number of pre-school spaces available for low income families, started a subsidized pre-school program benefit for district employees, and created a private-pay pre-school program for families who do not qualify for state subsidy programs.
I take my role as a steward of your taxpayer funds very seriously. In partnership with teachers and education staff, I implemented a long-term budget and fiscal sustainability plan at MPUSD, including identifying $5,000,000 in cost savings to increase teacher pay, without raising taxes.
Recognizing the significant needs of local students, I have supported the placement of Family Service mental health specialists and trainers at every campus. I am an ardent supporter of the Youth Mental Health First Aid training program that is offered throughout the County.
I am a strong advocate locally, and nationally, to ensure that every child has access to nutritious, healthy breakfast and lunch at school, over the summer, and during Distance Learning.
County Leadership & Track Record
For the past decade, I have been serving the residents of Sand City, Del Rey Oaks, Marina, East Garrison, CSUMB, Salinas, Seaside, and Ft. Ord as a top Legislative Aide to outgoing Supervisor Jane Parker, with a particular focus on healthcare, homeless services, and public safety in our neighborhoods and schools.
Currently representing the Supervisor on the Monterey County Children’s Council and the Transportation Agency for Monterey County, I have a deep understanding of how our County Government works.
Among many accomplishments I am proud to celebrate over the past decade, a few stand out:
- Increased transparency and accountability by implementing annual performance evaluations of County executive staff.
- Increased community engagement in County decision-making and services through the District 4 email newsletter, the only comprehensive County Supervisor website, active social media engagement with residents, and over 200 monthly Hot Topics Community meetings.
- Highest quality clinical care provided to all residents regardless of ability to pay at Natividad Medical Center, including expansion of the Regional Trauma Center, patient centered labor and delivery services, and expanded clinic services.
- Successful creation of the only Safe Parking Program that allows RV’s, with case management that continuously places people in secure housing.
- Securing the funding and building the political and public will necessary to open the Seaside Homeless Warming Center
- Developed local legislation reducing ability of underage kids to purchase tobacco.
- Established Maternal Mental Health Task Force to raise awareness and expand treatment of post-partum depression.
- Established Farmers Market at Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, and expand access to nutritious, free fruits and vegetables countywide
Recovering From COVID-19
As one of the County’s top COVID response coordinators, I’m leading efforts to keep our families and workforce safe. I’ve convened weekly sessions to provide health updates for the community, brought free COVID testing to the Monterey Peninsula, expanded emergency housing and financial assistance to residents, facilitated the distribution of thousands of masks and free meals, and worked tirelessly to connect local families and business with life-saving resources.
At every step, I’ve fought to expand communications, to include a larger body of stakeholders, and to share more information with full transparency. I insisted that Couty media briefings be held at least 3x week, that social media communication be increased, and that additional resources be dedicated to language translation so that critical safety information is available to all Monterey County residents.
Since March, and recently during the fires, I’ve been reminded about the critical importance of relationships among elected and community leadership in times of crisis. I’ve spent so many hours on the phone with elected school board members, city councilmembers, health officials, non-profit directors, faith leaders, business leaders, union members, and facebook group administrators among many others. I’ve worked for years to build trusting relationships with a broad coalition of community leaders who know how to work together to navigate our path forward.
I am confident we’ll get through these challenging times together. As Supervisor, I will stay laser focused on keeping our communities safe and healthy, getting kids back to school and residents back to work,and addressing our housing needs now and for future generations.
“One of Wendy’s greatest strengths is her focus on getting things done, and her personal commitment to identify and meet unmet needs in the community.”