LANCASTER – Mayor R. Rex Parris announced Thursday that he intends to consider three women for the City Council seat recently vacated by Councilwoman Sherry Marquez, who resigned earlier this month due to family matters. In a news release Thursday, Parris said he put considerable thought into choosing the three candidates — Cassandra Harvey, Sandra Johnson, and Sandy Smith.
“Each of these women is an accomplished professional who has dedicated a tremendous amount of time to the betterment of this community,” said Parris. “I would be proud to serve alongside any one of them.”
Cassandra Harvey is a United States Air Force veteran with more than 20 years of business and financial experience. Her background includes instrumental positions with both Northrop Grumman and Boeing. Harvey recently served as Vice Chair for the Lancaster Architectural and Design Planning Commission, and currently is a City of Lancaster Planning Commissioner. She is an advocate for local elementary school students; a mentor for the High School Involvement Partnership (HIP) program; and a partner in the Adopt-a-Lot program, along with future “greening” projects in the Antelope Valley.
Sandra Johnson is CEO and Co-Founder of the University of Antelope Valley (UAV). In 2009, she was recognized with her husband Marco as the City of Lancaster’s Citizens of the Year. Sandra and Marco recently launched the Smart Hire Program, which provides incentives for local employers to hire UAV graduates. The Johnsons also support local charity and family shelter organizations, host community outreach events, and assist local entrepreneurs with guidance and support.
Sandy Smith recently served on the Lancaster Criminal Justice Commission, following two years of service as the City of Lancaster Planning Commission’s Vice Chair. As the Community Operations Director in the Border Sierra Region of the American Cancer Society’s California Division, Smith handles fiscal and community operations for nine counties. In addition to her professional work with Lockheed Martin and High Desert Hospital, Sandy has served on the Antelope Valley College Foundation Board of Directors, the United Way Council of Executives, and has been involved with the Palmdale and Antelope Valley Chambers of Commerce.
“The person in this role must be able to relate to the needs of our community, while having the savvy to navigate turbulent waters and facilitate positive results,” Parris said. “This is not an easy position to be in, but it is a rewarding one, which will benefit the community at large if filled by the appropriate, capable individual.”
At the next City Council meeting, the Council will discuss the three candidates. The Mayor will then nominate one candidate for appointment to the Council. The new Councilmember will fill the vacant seat until elections take place next April, at which time the position will be up for public vote.