Gina Dickson to challenge for a seat on Windsor Town Council

Gina Fortino Dickson, 50, took out papers last week to run against Mike Wall, a health consultant who was recently elected to an at-large seat in a special election.|

Gina Fortino Dickson means business.

She doesn’t have a lot of hobbies. She says her life revolves around her job — which recently included earning her law degree and passing the state bar — as well as serving her community. Her children are grown and now she believes she has time to concentrate on running for Windsor Town Council.

Dickson, 50, took out papers last week to run against Mike Wall, a health consultant who was recently elected to an at-large seat in a special election.

She is a Windsor planning commissioner, former Windsor Parks and Recreation commissioner and was just appointed to the Sonoma County Commission on the Status of Women. She served on both the Clearlake Planning Commission and City Council before moving to Windsor six years ago with her two children and husband Mike, a consultant for Caltrans.

She has run unsuccessfully for Windsor Town Council before.

“Now is the time we need independent thinkers who can make the tough decisions — we really have a divided council,” she said in a recent interview. “I really want to be that voice that doesn’t pick a side and won’t pick a side. I will decide each issue on its merit. I think we need women at every level. I would love to see an all-woman Town Council.”

Dickson was appointed to the Planning Commission by longtime Windsor Town Council member Deb Fudge and was seated in March. She would prefer that town commissions reflect the town’s population.

The job as planning commissioner is “really fulfilling,” she said, and she would have waited to run for council except for what’s happening on the national level “with women losing their rights … unfortunately, we’re at a point where we can’t afford to lose any of these battles.”

Dickson also brought up her service with the League of California Cities while she was a Clearlake council member. She believes that experience gave her “connectedness with the larger county and state” since she worked with the Department of Emergency Management and the Emergency Operations Center as the liaison to cities during emergencies.

When asked if she would really have time to serve on the council while just starting at the national law firm J. Chrisp in its Santa Rosa office, Dickson said others have asked her the same question.

“I ended up accelerating my studies (at Santa Rosa-based Empire College of Law), doubling my course load and then passing the bar the first time,” she said. “That’s just how I function best, with a lot going on, being really busy, but also at the same time being able to focus on each one. This is what I do with my time.”

Asked what she sees as the difference between her and opponent Wall, she said she doesn’t know Wall personally, but emphasized that she has no alignments on either side of the council.

Dickson said she has the perspective of a working woman and a mom, yet believes her time on the Clearlake City Council will serve her well. She said when she returns to Lake County to visit her parents she sees the results of her work on the council — improved roads due to a ballot initiative.

She wants to do the same kind of work and see results in Windsor.

As far as the question of what to do with the Town Green, after the recent battle over whether to keep working with developer Robert Green on the civic center project, Dickson said the council now has all of its options open and sees her role as protecting the “jewel.”

At the same town, Dickson said the Town Green “can’t take all of our focus. It’s not the only neighborhood and it’s not the only thing going on, and we have to keep our eyes on all of the balls.”

She said the town should look at updating its infrastructure, such as internet, noting that when her house was damaged by smoke during the Kincade Fire, the family lived in Rohnert Park for three or four months “and they have fiber-optic and there was a marked difference” in internet speed.

She said she plans to knock on every door in her district during her campaign, find out what’s going on in each neighborhood and work to get people more involved in their community.

You can reach Staff Writer Kathleen Coates at kathleen.coates@pressdemocrat.comor 707-521-5209.

Kathleen Coates

Windsor and Cloverdale, The Press Democrat 

As someone who grew up in a small town, I enjoy covering what's happening in Windsor and Cloverdale, which are growing in their own unique ways.  I delve into issues by getting to know people and finding out what’s going on in the community. I also pay attention to animal welfare and other issues that affect Sonoma County.

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