Meet Folsom City Council's 5 candidates

By: Penne Usher
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Five candidates are vying for two open Folsom City Council seats.

At the next regular election, November 8, seats currently held by Jeff Starsky and Ernie Sheldon will be up for election.

The remaining three seats on the City Council are currently held by Kerri Howell, Steve Miklos and Andy Morin.

Running is Starsky and Sheldon, along with Roger Gaylord, Rob Ross, and Chad Vander Veen.

The city will host a candidate forum from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Folsom Lake College Aug. 24 moderated by former Assemblyman Roger Niello. The forum is free and open to the public.


Meet the candidates:

Ernie Sheldon

Elected to the City Council in 2008 and re-elected in 2012 Sheldon is a 25-year resident of Folsom who is known for his long-term service to the community, including serving as vice mayor in 2011 and 2013.   

Sheldon served on the City’s Parks and Recreation Commission for two decades.  During that time he directly participated in building 45 parks and recreation facilities.  He wrote Folsom’s first Parks Master Plan, and was instrumental in establishing the Folsom Aquatic Center, Folsom Sports Complex and Senior and Arts Center. 

The City honored him for his outstanding dedication to Folsom parks by naming the Ernie Sheldon Park in his honor.  Sheldon’s accomplishments were also recognized in 2002 when he was named California’s Outstanding Park Commissioner.

A retired Air Force officer, Ernie led the effort to expand Folsom’s Veterans Day Parade from 23 participants to more than 1,400.  He also spearheaded planning, design and construction of the Veterans Memorial behind the library.

A former Library Commissioner, Sheldon was one of the original directors of the Friends of the Folsom Library and played a key role in identifying City Lions Park as the site for the Folsom Public Library.

He has a Masters Degree in Management from the University of Nebraska, served in the United States Air Force for 33 years including 11 years as an enlisted man and 21 years as an officer.  He retired as a Lt. Colonel with a Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and an Air Force Commendation Medal with five clusters.


Jeff Starsky

Jeffrey Starsky is a 30-year resident of Folsom. He was elected to the City Council in 2000, and re-elected in 2004, 2008 and 2012. He served the City as Mayor in 2002 and 2010; and as vice mayor in 2013.  Starsky has spent his entire term as Folsom’s representative to the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, the agency responsible for the Sacramento region’s compliance with the Federal Clean Air Act. Starsky served as the Board's Chairman in 2005 and 2006. He also serves as the City’s Board representative on the Capital Southeast Connector Joint Powers Authority and served as that Board’s Chairman in 2011.   Starsky also sits as the City’s representative on the Sacramento County Criminal Justice Cabinet, a multi-jurisdictional forum dealing with law enforcement issues.

While serving as the City’s Mayor, Starsky testified before the United States Congress several times on behalf of the residents of Folsom in support of the federal legislation authorizing the construction of a new bridge below the Folsom Dam. During his term, Starsky’s efforts secured over $80 million in federal funding for the City of Folsom.

He serves as a Board member for the Folsom Economic Development Corporation, the economic development arm of the City, and was personally involved in bringing several businesses, including Trader Joes, Costco, Fats Asian Bistro and Chop’s to Folsom.

He is also a strong supporter of Powerhouse Ministries in Folsom, a non-profit charity that helps homeless women and children within the City find shelter and help them get

He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse in 1983 and earned his Juris Doctor degree with honors from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.


Roger Gaylord

Roger Gaylord III aka “The Fresh Face for Folsom”  is a 24 year resident of Folsom and attended Theodore Judah elementary school, Folsom Middle School and graduated from Folsom High School in 2001.  He studied criminal justice at Folsom Lake College and as an entrepreneur, started his first small business while attending Folsom High School.

He’s a National Security Expert with Stanley CSS, founder of Lay Away Angels as well a volunteer coach.


Folsom's is amazing, no doubt about it, but we’re not on course to remain the city we all love, a city truly “Distinctive by Nature” instead; we’re shifting to a city “Distinctive by Development”

We're in jeopardy of losing the defining characteristics that make us unique. Outside influences have crept into Folsom politics. He said he’s committed to working with existing leaders to energize introduce new age ideas, and end the political status quo. Gaylord is married with two children.


Rob Ross

Ross is a resident of Folsom and has lived in the area for more than 15 years.

He believes that working hard and serving your family, friends, and community are ideals that seem to get lost in the shuffle of everyday life.

Ross started his first company at 15 years old importing computer parts from overseas and using those parts to build and sell computers from a Roseville store.

 He sold that company and, not long after, started asecond company. After 11 years my company was merged with a San Francisco based Internet company and within one year we began the process for an initial public offering. Ultimately I left that company as a major shareholder.

In 2000, he started Think Smart Inc. which provides cloud hosting services for the healthcare industry. 

As an appointed official for the Parks and Recreation department, he helps oversee the departments’ more than 11-million-dollar annual budget.

He has worked several years on the steering committee  for the Folsom Community Service Day.

He’s a graduate of Leadership Folsom, membership chair, Rotary Club of Folsom and is a committee member for the Johnny Cash Art Trail Funding Committee.

He’s also a pilot with Angel Flights that aids children and adults with serious medical conditions.


Chad Vander Veen

Chad Vander Veen has lived in Folsom since 2003.

After high school he attended the University of Redlands where he spent qa portion of his junior year in Europe. He received a degree in government and worked for the Folsom based e. Republic writing about government.

He wrote a great deal about water and eventually took a job with Purchase Green, a company that manufactures artificial grass.