Folsom City Council Candidates Make Final Plea for Your Vote

With the election upon us, and Folsom’s future at stake, the candidates vying for 2 seats on the Folsom City Council, were given the opportunity to reach out to voters via  Incumbent Jeff Starsky, along with challengers Roger Gaylord and Chad Vander Veen have answered the call. As of now, neither incumbent Ernie Sheldon nor challenger Rob Ross have replied.

Here are their statements, the order of which was chosen at random:

Jeff Starsky

Incumbent Jeff Starsky
Incumbent Jeff Starsky

As your representative on the Folsom City Council for the last sixteen years, your former Mayor, and most importantly, your neighbor for the last 32 years, I am asking for your vote to let me continue to serve you and keep Folsom a vibrant, prosperous and great place to live, work and play. I know governmental processes and continue to work to improve efficiencies in the City’s systems to deliver cost-effective services to our residents.

I bring 35 years of business and legal expertise as well as 20 years of public agency management experience to the City. My fiscally conservative approach to government has resulted in a balanced budget for 16 straight years. I have streamlined your city government through increased efficiencies and tough negotiations with the City’s employee unions. We’ve maintained our senior services, library services and youth sports programs while cities around us are eliminating theirs. As a result of my commitment to public safety, we are and will continue to be one of the safest communities in California.

Folsom has one of the lowest unemployment rates of any city in California because of my efforts to recruit and retain both large and small businesses in Folsom. Just this year I helped bring Voxpro, Mikuni and Vision Service Plan to Folsom, adding over 1000 new jobs. I’ve help shepherd this City through the worst recession in its 70 year history and have been part of the team that has built a City that today stands as one of the best cities in California.

Folsom is recognized nationally for the quality of life and livability of our great City. In the last two years, our city has been named the Best City to Raise a Family, Best Suburb, Best City for Young Families, Best City for Young Professionals, and Best City for Job Seekers in Northern California. We were recently named one of America’s 50 Best Cities to Live and the 33rd Wealthiest City in America. These awards do not happen by accident. I am part of a great team of City Leaders who worked hard to make this happen.

Folsom’s future is very bright. Folsom is and will continue to be one of the most desirable places to live in California if I am re-elected. Our strong employment base and my plan to bring more diverse employers to the City will guarantee our tax base for years to come. My conservative approach to government will assure that the city staffing levels will not exceed our budgets and our city government will remain efficient and effective. Public safety will remain my highest priority and I will commit the necessary resources to keep Folsom families safe.

My careful approach to growth will assure that our existing property values will remain high and the cost of public services will remain low. I will continue to bring new parks and recreational opportunities to Folsom including the development of the Johnny Cash Park. Folsom’s opportunities are limitless. With the right leadership, Folsom will continue to be the best city in California.

Vote for me on November 8th and let’s Keep Folsom Strong

For more info about Jeff, go to

Chad Vander Veen

Folsom City Council Challenger Chad Vander Veen
Folsom City Council Challenger Chad Vander Veen

My name is Chad Vander Veen and I want to represent you. I want to represent your family and your values. I want to represent the future you hope is in store for the next generation of Folsom residents.

Looking around our city today you may be wondering why it makes any sense to vote for a challenger. After all, Folsom is a fabulous place to live and I am grateful every day to call Folsom my home. There was a time, in the mid -1900s, when residents of cities like Buffalo, Detroit, Akron, Youngstown, St. Louis and Pittsburgh probably asked themselves the same thing. Everything was great so why make any changes?

Sixty and seventy years later, a few of those cities are only now starting to recapture a portion of their former glory. It’s not that they had poor leadership. Rather, it’s that their leadership wasn’t visionary. I’m not running for Folsom of 2016. I’m running for Folsom of 2036 and 2056.

Our council, to date, has done by most measures an admirable job. However, in looking forward the council seems content to count on solutions from the 1960s and 70s to handle challenges of the 21st century.

For more than a decade I worked with state and local government officials across the country. I traveled to dozens of cities and met with hundreds of mayors, governors, councilmembers, bureaucrats and department heads. In that job my goal was to find out what in government worked best – and what didn’t – to make cities, counties and states work more efficiently and more effectively with ever fewer resources.

A good portion of that decade was spent looking specifically at how cities prepare themselves for the future. In short, cities that prosper in the 21st century will do so because they understand what it takes to be a smart city. As the former editor of a magazine dedicated to smart cities, I know that what it will take to maintain our quality of life in Folsom is a holistic understanding of our city systems – transportation, energy, water, waste and infrastructure.

Binding them all together is technology. All of these things within those systems – traffic signals, sewer pipes, emergency vehicles, smartphones…even each of us, provide useful data on how to make our city work better for everyone.

So you see, that’s why I believe it’s important to elect people who understand the future is going to be about much more than uninspired suburban sprawl and property taxes. That’s why I believe we must start electing people who aren’t content with the idea that the way we’ve always done things is good enough.

I’m Chad Vander Veen and I’m running for the future of Folsom. I hope you’ll join my effort to ensure that we don’t look back one day and remember when things used to be great. Together we can create a better future starting November 8th.  

Thank you.

For more info about Chad, go to

Roger Gaylord

Folsom City Council Challenger Roger Gaylord

Folsom City Council Challenger Roger Gaylord

I represent homegrown leadership. My background is uniquely suited to serve our city. I was RAISED in Folsom. I care about Folsom, both issues we’ve faced previously, and those we’ll face in the future. I’m an entrepreneur, Utility Commissioner, father, volunteer coach and professional security expert. I’m just one of the first who like me, will step forward & lead Folsom into the future. I envision a city that honors its unique history and positions itself as a city of the future. Folsom is that city.

When elected, I will help create a transparent government that will include all stakeholders while avoiding any conflicts of interest, like we see today. I’ll level set with South of 50 shareholders, ensuring the development process benefits both North & South of 50; including the water issues. I’ll ensure Folsom has a smart growth agenda, not a growth for growth sake agenda. This includes eliminating the close ties between our elected officials, and outside influences who use the Chamber’s BizPAC as a financing tool to prop up certain candidates. We’ll do this by introducing a vote to amend our city charter, adding term limits, and a voted mayor.
I’ll focus on updating Folsom’s social/ technological footprint, bringing Folsom initiatives, directly to residents. This includes streamlining online business permits, citywide social media platforms & real time info via status updates from the city. My goal is to attract what I call “foundation employers” like Intel to Folsom. I’ll work with these campus style companies to organically produce higher paying jobs from within Folsom. Our unemployment rate is indeed low, however it’s made up of lower wage, retail based jobs which doesn’t produce enough earnings to live in Folsom.
Picture the town you grew up in, picture going back to the elementary school you went to. It holds a special value to you. Folsom is that city for me. It has a special place in my heart.
I represent Folsom’s youth who grew up to get involved!
For more info about Roger, go to
Rob Ross
Challenger Rob Ross
Challenger Rob Ross
Folsom is amazing; that’s why it has been my home for over 15 years. My daughter was raised in Folsom and is a proud graduate of Folsom High School. I am running for City Council to offer new vision to make our city an even better place to live and raise a family. I have the passion, experience and energy to improve our city and my platform is clear so you can choose whether my priorities are right for you.

Our current City Council has done an admirable job running our city and I have a great working relationship with all of our current council members.
As the Chairman of the Folsom Parks and Recreation Commission for the past 6 years, I understand how our city runs and have the experience to represent you from day one. I have been proud to add more than 20 miles of trails, open parks and bridges, and incorporate a trail which allows anyone including those with disabilities to access our waterfront. I am committed to Folsom’s way of life and will continue to approve the expansion of our parks, trails, and amenities ensuring that Folsom’s families will always have a place to take in a game or go for a walk. As a local technology business owner I understand the complexities of running Folsom.
We currently do not have a councilmember with a technology background and there are so many low cost projects that can improve citizen representation. Our residents are technologically savvy and they want information presented in real time and in bite sizes that they can quickly digest.
My proposal is to create a Citizen Dashboard where you can create your own dashboard of only the information that is important to you and create alerts that automatically notify you if the information changes. I will deliver a system where government is transparent and access is easy for everyone.
We can also use technology to help address the increasing problem of traffic in our city. Often traffic congestion happens right next to a road that is open and congestion free. These detours go unused because most drivers are unaware of their existence. Adaptive Traffic Control sensors married with Smart changeable signage could detect traffic and automatically create temporary traffic detours to help alleviate slowness in the most congested areas. This information could then be collected and analyzed with a goal of creating a longer term street improvement system to permanently reduce traffic congestion.
My plan for Folsom’s future includes: continued investment in first responders, build and attract new businesses, provide jobs both organically and through my Higher Education and Smart Cities initiatives, and continue our strong relationship with our school district. I will expand our parks, trails, arts and library programs. Finally, I will only vote for growth that is fiscally and environmentally responsible. It would be my honor to serve as your next Folsom City Council Member.
Call me directly at 916-842-3798 if you want to discuss or learn more at
What do you think? Who do you think is best-suited to lead Folsom in the future? Discuss in the MyFolsom’s Tomato Pages forum: