By Caleb Lunetta
Signal Staff Writer
Denise Lite said she’s running for City Council in 2022 because she has a “huge heart” and is looking to help others.
“I’ve always had a passion for helping people,” said Lite in an interview with The Signal last week. “I lost my mom when I was 10 years old and I think that made me highly compassionate for others, but it also made me self-reliant.”
“I’ve seen Santa Clarita grow in so many and unique ways in the last 10 years; we’ve added about 50,000 people to the community in the last 10 years and with the addition of new housing there’s going to be a lot of new faces that we welcome into the community,” she added. “And until you’ve lived someplace else, you don’t realize that we have so much here in Santa Clarita Valley and you really don’t know that it really is ‘Awesome Town.’”
“So, I find myself most fulfilled when I’m helping others and sitting on the council is just another opportunity to serve an even larger group of people.”
For the last seven years, Lite has supported local women struggling with breast cancer through the nonprofit organization Soroptimist International of Valencia, serving as chairwoman of SIV’s signature event, Bras for a Cause.
A stepmother to two boys, Lite also works professionally as an attorney and family legal advocate alongside her father at their family-owned legal practice.
With regard to the issues, Lite said she does not have a hierarchical order to what her priorities would be. However, she says she would like to work on “community building” with organizations, nonprofits and other stakeholders to work with the city in providing a “community that is inclusive for everybody.”
Another priority she has is “continued economic vitality, providing support and services to keep residents safe and secure, during and after the pandemic, and at the same time allowing businesses to thrive and residents to earn a livelihood,” Lite said. “I think COVID-19 has hit a lot of people very hard and the city has to work to mitigate any additional harm that can be caused by state and county mandates.”
Lite added she is a big public safety advocate. “The safety of Santa Clarita residents is of utmost importance to me and we have to fully support our Sheriff’s Department, and partner with them to keep our community safe.”
Other candidates who have indicated they intend to run, so far, include David Barlavi, Dr. Aakash Ahuja, Joe Messina and Selina Thomas. In the 2022 election, the seats currently held by Mayor Bill Miranda, Mayor Pro Tem Laurene Weste and Councilwoman Marsha McLean are scheduled to be on the ballot.
It remains to be seen whether the seats will continue to be elected at large, or if the city will follow through on its declared intention to switch to district-based elections as a result of a potential legal challenge to the at-large elections based on the California Voting Rights Act.