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About 4½ years ago, we debuted a program in which we invite members of the community to add their insights and experience to The Press Democrat editorial board.

The community members help us shape the paper’s positions, including election recommendations, which appear here on the editorial page.

Today, we’re pleased to introduce our newest community members, Kerry Rego and Ruthie Snyder. They will be with us for the several months.

Rego, a Santa Rosa native, is a specialist in social media. She teaches in the communication studies department at Sonoma State University and the computer studies department at Santa Rosa Junior College as well as running her own consulting business. She has completed the Leadership Santa Rosa program and she serves on the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors.

Rego knows all about the latest online platforms, but she isn’t a stranger to traditional media. For about two years, she wrote a column for the North Bay Business Journal, one of our sister publications, and she got started as a high school intern here at The Press Democrat in the mid-1990s. With her mix of new and old media skills, coupled with her experience in business, we hope she can teach us a thing or two, while bringing a younger perspective to our board.

Snyder, a resident of Oakmont, has a long and varied resume that includes serving on the Mill Valley City Council in the 1980s and, before that, as vice president of the League of Women Voters in greater Miami. While living in Marin County, she ran a hardware store and a general store. She ran a chain drug store after moving to Olympia, Washington, where she was hired by city to be its downtown liaison to bridge the gap between businesses and stakeholders with the city.

In that role, she introduced Olympia to a process called “placemaking,” an urban design initiative that seeks to create gathering places and identify features to make public spaces more vibrant and inviting.

Since returning to Northern California, Snyder has brought placemaking principles to the Springs communities in the Sonoma Valley and to the Roseland Village shopping center public space project in Santa Rosa. She believes placemaking could further enhance the reunified Courthouse Square.

Rego and Snyder are the seventh and eighth community members of our editorial board. They succeed Michael D. Lopez of Santa Rosa, our longest-tenured community board member. We are grateful for his many contributions over the past two years.

Our permanent board members are Steve Falk, the CEO of The Press Democrat and Sonoma Media Investments, and Assistant Editorial Director Jim Sweeney.

The editorial board doesn’t assign or edit news articles. Our bailiwick includes the daily editorial pages and the Sunday Forum section. The community board members take part in our regular meetings, including interviews with community leaders, advocates, elected officials and candidates for public office. They help form our editorial positions and, if they choose, they’re invited to write their opinions.

About three dozen people applied when we solicited applications last month. We were pleased by the wide interest and deeply impressed by the breadth of talent and experience in our community. Narrowing the list and choosing our finalists was challenging, and we met some people who may be invited to join the editorial board in the future.

As always, our goal is to facilitate an exchange of perspectives and opinions. We invite all of our readers to share their views, and keep our Let the Public Speak section lively, by sending letters to letters@pressdemocrat.com

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