A fifth Democrat has jumped into the race for the North Bay congressional seat held by retiring Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma.
Stacey Lawson, a San Rafael businesswoman who co-founded the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at UC Berkeley, said she will make job creation and the economy a key focus of her campaign.
"Our economy is made up of 70 percent consumer spending," Lawson said. "And given the current challenges for most households, the mortgage issues, the uncertainty around jobs, and declining wages ... that aggregate demand has essentially dried up."
Lawson said she has created thousands of jobs throughout her career. She founded InPart, a venture-backed startup that was acquired in 1998 by Parametric Technology Corp., and headed Siebel Systems' Employee Relationship Management business, according to an online bio.
Lawson said she has advised or invested in a dozen startups through the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, which she co-founded in 2005.
"There's a huge opportunity in California to continue to pursue the green job and green tech economies," Lawson said.
She has been a regular speaker on the topic of consciousness, leading workshops and meditation courses. She is listed as a member of the board of directors at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, a Petaluma nonprofit focused on consciousness research and education. Lawson said she is fascinated by all the world's religions, and aims to empower people to go "beyond their surface level" in business and other pursuits.
"I believe there are so many traditions that guide us to the deeper intuition," Lawson said.
Protecting social systems like Medicare and improving education are also priorities for Lawson.
To raise funds, Lawson plans to tap a broad network developed from serving on boards and in her social service work.
"What's clear is that this race will need financial viability," Lawson said. "I think it's a time also where there's an opportunity and opening for people who are not career track politicians, to be very viable candidates that voters are open to."
Other Democrats vying for the seat include Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams, Assemblyman Jared Huffman of San Rafael, Petaluma City Councilwoman Tiffany Renee and Marin County author and activist Norman Solomon.