We are coming to the end of another year and heading toward a fresh start for 2021. I am looking hopefully upon the New Year as I enter my first term as a council member in the midst of one of the most difficult periods for our city and the world. It is humbling to have earned this position, and I look forward to serving the city of Santa Clarita alongside my fellow council members. Through the challenges our community has endured and continues to engage, I have no doubt Santa Clarita will continue to be the safe, close-knit city we are all proud to call home.
Before getting to work in my new role, let me start by introducing myself. I am a husband, father, engineer and lifelong Californian. I am married to my beautiful wife, Chandra, and have two children, Aiden, 4, and Avery, 2. Santa Clarita has been my home for nearly a decade, and I couldn’t imagine establishing my family’s roots anywhere else. I earned both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. This led to my current role as a principal engineer for GP Strategies Corp., where I have spent the majority of my career supporting, inspecting and servicing a number of test stand and rocket launch site ground support equipment.
In addition to my dedication to my family and passion for engineering, I also care deeply about Santa Clarita and have enjoyed serving and supporting local organizations. I currently serve on the advisory board for the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley, an organization that provided a safe environment for learning and making friends when I was a child. Other amazing local institutions that I have felt compelled to support over the years include the Valley Industry Association, where I served as the vice chair of advocacy, and the WiSH Foundation, both of which are completing tremendous work to support businesses and students in our community.
Now that the community knows a little more about me, I want also to acknowledge that I see and sympathize with the challenges that our residents of all different backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses and ethnicities have dealt with this year. Reflecting on the past 12 months, the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to many plans and goals for 2020, and it sadly left a devastating impact on families and businesses in our community and around the nation. If not for the outstanding efforts of Santa Clarita’s essential staff and heroes in health care professions working tirelessly to care for those affected, we may have been in a much worse position. We must also acknowledge our community’s essential workers in grocery stores, education, transit, delivery services, retail, food and beverage and professional services that have shown so much resilience and strength this year. Through “Safer At Home” orders to the beginning stages of reopening, costly business adjustments and more, these workers have continued to push forward despite confusion and ambiguities. Many of our friends’ and families’ livelihoods have been forever changed, and it is critical moving forward that we continue to innovate mechanisms for providing safe methods of commerce, because no matter your occupation or vocation, your work is essential to those you are responsible for.
On a positive note, the city of Santa Clarita has many exciting projects and initiatives on the way. In 2021, we will welcome the new Canyon Country Community Center, along with the new Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. In addition to these two new developments, residents can also expect exciting advancements within the Needham Ranch and Vista Canyon projects, both of which will deliver economic growth to our community.
Apart from Santa Clarita’s economic developments, the Santa Clarita Public Library has some great things in store for the new year. Look out for the 2021 One Story One City book selection and upcoming themed events in March, followed by the always-popular Summer Reading Program. Green Santa Clarita also has some fantastic environmentally friendly programming on the way for Earth Arbor Day, Bike to Work Day and Santa Clarita’s 2021 Neighborhood Cleanup. This, of course, is just a glimpse at what’s to come for the city. However, personally, I am most looking forward to the day we can gather together in person and celebrate our accomplishments with the intimate fanfare that keeps that small-town charm alive in our growing community.
As we enter the new year, and I embark on my new role as council member, let’s remember to show compassion to one another and focus on the positive changes that lie ahead for our community. I thank each of our council members, residents and local businesses that continue to make Santa Clarita an amazing place to live, work and play. I must also thank my predecessor, Bob Kellar, for the outstanding work he has done for the community over the past 20 years. I will show the same commitment to Santa Clarita during my time as a council member. Thank you for the opportunity to serve this community, and I wish each of you a happy and safe New Year!
Jason Gibbs is a member of Santa Clarita’s City Council and can be reached at [email protected].