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Winters Mayor Cecilia Aguiar-Curry is an energetic, accomplished, down-to-earth candidate who would be an effective advocate for rural communities in the State Assembly.

Aguiar-Curry, a Democrat, is competing with Republican Charlie Schaupp for the District 4 Assembly seat being vacated by Bill Dodd. In an interview, Aguiar-Curry impressed us with her knowledge of the issues facing the district and her common-sense, centrist approach to governance. She’s exactly the sort of candidate we’re drawn to: A moderate who can collaborate across party lines to achieve results.

Aguiar-Curry has been a driving force behind the revitalization of Winters, which is adding two new hotels and trying to embrace tourism while preserving its small-town charm (sound familiar?).

As mayor, Aguiar-Curry has prodded telecommunications companies to enhance broadband access for rural areas. She showed great passion for the issue, which she sees as crucial to public health, education, business and agriculture. She also showed solid command of the policy details, pointing out that the cell tower locations being recommended by the Federal Communications Commission don’t match the neighborhoods that desperately need service.

District 4 stretches across six counties, and Aguiar-Curry spoke with authority about the issues facing various regions: from the poverty and drug problems in Lake County to the social consequences of second homes in the upper Napa Valley. She mentioned she’s put 5,000 miles on her car during five weeks of campaigning, and her travels have obviously taught her a lot.

She cited transportation, infill affordable housing and vocational education as a few of her overarching interests, and said she would look for state money to help with local projects.

She criticized the state’s onerous water regulations that make it difficult and expensive for small water systems like Winters and St. Helena to stay in compliance, even though their water is perfectly safe to drink and well within federal guidelines.

Aguiar-Curry came across as an energetic leader who governs through relationship-building and compromise rather than grandstanding and partisanship. We’re supporting her for her energy, open and collaborative attitude, and passion for fixing the problems faced by small rural communities like ours.

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