Folsom City Council candidates announced

By: Rachel Zirin, Senior Reporter
-A +A

Filing has officially closed, and the Folsom City Council candidates have been finalized and announced. This year’s election will mark one of the largest groups of candidates in years.

The Folsom Telegraph will be the community’s trusted source in learning who each candidate is, why they are running, and what their views are on various Folsom topics.

The upcoming Folsom City Council election will take place on Nov. 6 with three open seats. These three seats are currently held by Mayor Steve Miklos, Council Member Andy Morin and Council Member Kerri Howell. Miklos and Morin announced a few months prior they will not be running for re-election and will be retiring from their seats.

As one of the largest groups of candidates in past years, 12 Folsom residents have announced their candidacy and campaigning is already underway.

The community will see their banners, signs, flyers and possibly commercials on TV in the weeks to come to earn votes and prove to Folsom voters why they are the best person for the job.

Come November, three of the 12 following candidates will take a seat at the dais with current Vice Mayor Ernie Sheldon and Council Member Roger Gaylord.

A council member’s role is no easy task. Much time will be dedicated in representing the Folsom community not only at the dais, but at community events, school functions, regional board meetings and more.

On Aug. 16, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced the randomized alphabet drawing for the 2018 general election ballot, which the Telegraph will use throughout the publication of election coverage.

The following information is brief, but in the weeks to come, the Telegraph will sit down one-on-one with each of the 12 candidates and discuss more in-depth topics relating to traffic, water, development, homelessness, public safety and a possible surprise bonus question.


YK Chalamcherla, 47
8-year resident
Occupation: State senior manager for the California Department of Healthcare Services – Medi-Cal Programs; Folsom Parks and Recreation Commissioner.

“I am immensely passionate about serving our community and helping others. In my 23 years of public service, I have gained extensive knowledge in policy decision making. I want to use this experience to improve residents’ quality of life. My focus – public safety, jobs, infrastructure, education and technology.”


Sarah Aquino, 46

15-year resident
Occupation: Insurance broker with Integrated Benefits and Insurance Services, Inc. for 20 years; served as FCUSD board member for 4 years.

“I'm running for City Council to provide strong, steady leadership and practical solutions to address our city's challenges. If elected, I pledge to do four things: be accessible, listen, do my homework, and make common sense decisions. We won't agree on everything, but you'll always know where I stand.”


Aaron Ralls, 43
30-year resident
Occupation: Folsom business owner for 8 years; Realtor for 3 years; Folsom Planning Commissioner for 1-and-a-half years.

“After a previous career in law enforcement, I opened up a small barbershop in Folsom. I’ve had a unique opportunity to understand the needs of our residents, and I will be greatly instrumental in putting the desires of our residents first. I will not be influenced by outside interests.”


Rob Ross, 49
17-year resident
Occupation: Owner of Think Smart Inc.; past Folsom Parks and Recreation Commissioner for 7 years; board member of the Folsom Tourism and Economic Development Corporation; Folsom Rotarian and more.

“I am running for City Council to ensure Folsom continues as the leader for city innovation, economic strategies, plentiful well-paying job opportunities, and the area’s best parks and trails. I will make sure to preserve our small town feel by creating local gathering places where bonds are built between neighbors.”

Jennifer Lane, 66
38-year resident
Occupation: Retired local school teacher; Folsom Planning Commissioner for 7 years.

“I’m running for City Council to “Put People Before Politics.” I’ve met many people through my commission experience who want to be heard at council level. I want to be their voice! I want to save the corporation yard from commercialization. I envision a nature center highlighting cultural amenities.”


Barbara Leary, 69
26-year resident
Occupation: Retired; nurse practitioner at UC Davis Medical Center for 31 years; Folsom Arts and Cultural Commissioner; volunteer for Friends of Folsom Parkways, Heritage Preservation League of Folsom, Daughters of the American Revolution, the Sierra Club and more.

“For years, I've fought for safe neighborhoods; preserved open space and historical sites; and built trails and parks. My history of collaborating with neighbors, city staff and regional partners to safeguard Folsom's attributes makes me well-qualified to ensure Folsom remains a vibrant city surrounded by a healthy environment.”


Kerri Howell, 59
34-year resident
Occupation: Engineer and small business owner of Atlantic Consultants, Inc.; 20-year Folsom City Council incumbent.

“Folsom’s the best place to live and work in California. Our neighborhoods, public safety and businesses remain the best in the region. Serving on City Council, regional boards, experience in engineering and business provides me background to continue finding solutions to problems. I’ll continue to work for Folsom. Experience matters.”


Mike Kozlowski, 50
13-year resident
Occupation: Account executive for Johnson Controls; head track and field coach at Vista del Lago High School.

“I'm running to ensure the council carefully listens and is transparent in its actions, to see that police and fire services keep pace with city growth, to reduce traffic congestion, to make the Dan Russel Arena a better venue for the rodeo, and to complete our park and trail systems.”


Chad Vander Veen, 39
16-year resident
Occupation: Marketing and communications manager for Purchase Green.

“I’m running for Folsom City Council because I believe I have a duty to leave our city to our children in better condition than I found it. I believe the majority of our current council doesn’t share this belief. Rather, they have traded long-term prosperity for short-term profit.”


Mark Moore, 62
2-year resident
Occupation: Freelance writer for 8 years; retired Bay Area fire captain.

“Proudly having served as a captain in the fire department, Mark desires to continue serving his community in the most impactful way possible. Folsom needs intelligent, courageous leadership, now more than ever, to make the tough decisions that’ll keep our community strong and vibrant, while striving for an exceptional tomorrow.”


Scott Bailey, 59
32-year resident
Occupation: 39 years Account manger/consultant for a full-service dental dealer for 39 years; retired Folsom Police Reserve Officer; part-time police officer with local state police agency for 12 years.

“Having lived, worked and raised a family in Folsom for over 35 years, I have always loved our city! All great things about Folsom happened with intelligent, thoughtful planning and experienced leadership. I am offering my commitment, experience and knowledge to continue my service to Folsom. Let’s keep it going!”


Ken Brown, 48
3-year resident
Occupation: Stay-at-home father; 4-year United States Marine Corps veteran.

“I’m a Gulf War veteran, father of two, husband of one and friend to all. I'm running for City Council to give a voice to all citizens of Folsom. I'm eager to work for you, and together I believe we can take our community to the next level of prosperity.”