Peggy Huang, an attorney, Taiwanese immigrant, and current Mayor of Yorba Linda didn’t grow up thinking about politics. In the elementary grades, she was learning to speak and understand a second language. Librarians were heroes who helped her pronounce words she didn’t understand, which, from her point of view, was a matter of survival. “When you come from another country there’s a pressure to learn English right away or you won’t be able to do anything, or help yourself if there’s an emergency.”
Peggy recalls her mother, who was a nurse in Taiwan, studying English and learning to drive when, at that time, there was no Taiwanese version of the DMV handbook or driver’s test, so she could work as a nurse in California. “My mother is amazing. She taught me the importance of assimilating and learning the language and culture, but to never forget where you came from and who you left behind [in Taiwan].”
She admits that being Mayor during a pandemic has its own special challenges, but she admits that the new Yorba Linda Library and Cultural Arts Center is a great accomplishment. “It was a very personal project to me. And I am proud that our city has stayed fiscally sound and has a good foundation for the future.”
Good leaders are ones we look up to for guidance, call on in times of trouble, and shine a light on the path ahead. During her tenure as Yorba Linda’s 2019 mayor, Tara Campbell pioneered several programs that are still growing today.
Something she is most proud of is the Young Civic Leaders Academy, a six-week nonpartisan program for local high school students to learn more about city government, which she started in 2019 and is entering its 5th session in the spring. “I didn’t want our next generation growing up with disdain towards their local government,” Tara explained. “I wanted to demystify City Hall and show them they can be a part of making their community a better place. One student started a reading program through our library, others have become Ambassadors for our Chamber of Commerce, two created their own business in town, and one just became a City Commissioner!”
As mayor Tara was warmly welcomed by residents and religious leaders as she toured every house of worship in the city and took part in many festivals and special events. This year she is really looking forward to ‘Love Yorba Linda,’ a city-wide service day she started to “remind us of the importance of helping one another and strengthening our community.”
Dr. Beth Haney
Dr. Beth Haney navigated tremendous challenges as Mayor of Yorba Linda in 2020. Being a local leader during wildfires and political rallies, social justice protests, and housing issues was an enormously stressful position to be in. As health and safety mandates were rapidly changing, it was her job to disseminate timely and accurate information to residents and businesses and make important choices that would maintain a safe and fiscally strong city, such as city grants to small businesses, during that tumultuous year.
Dr. Haney is a founding member and current Co-Chair of the California Mayors Coalition (CMC), a bipartisan group of elected officials making an impact on housing, health equity, and funding in their respective cities. The CMC achieved a major goal last year providing urgently needed direct relief payments to small businesses and is currently working on coordinating improved vaccine distribution.
As more people get vaccinated and public health is restored, she is looking forward to fostering a stronger sense of community and connection with residents. “It is hard to predict the future behavior of the CV-19 virus but if it’s appropriate, we will be having our annual 4th of July celebration, Movies in the Park, Yorba Days, and other fun events.”