Sen. Jackson to Honor Women First Responders as Women of the Year

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Source: Office of Sen. Jackson

In recognition of their bravery during the Thomas Fire, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (Santa Barbara) will honor women first responders from Santa Barbara and Ventura counties as the 19th Senate District’s 2018 Women of the Year in separate ceremonies on April 20 and 27.

“These courageous women were critical to our emergency response efforts during the devastating Thomas Fire last year. They worked tirelessly fighting fires, as well as keeping our communities safe and informed.  While our male first responders deserve recognition as well, these women should be highlighted for their leadership, bravery and hard work in professions still largely dominated by men,” said Jackson. 

Female elected officials have been invited to attend Women of the Year events in their respective counties. Due to limited space, the reception is closed to the public. However, members of the press are invited to cover the event.

Jackson’s Santa Barbara County Women of the Year will be honored at a reception on Friday, April 20 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Impact Hub Funk Zone: 10 E. Yanonali St. Santa Barbara.

The Santa Barbara County honorees are:

  • Dr. Charity Dean, Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer: Dean serves as the Public Health Officer for Santa Barbara County. In this role she leads health policy formation on emerging issues impacting the public’s health such as cannabis, communicable disease, and disaster response.

  • Suzanne Grimmesey, Chief Quality Care and Strategy Officer: Grimmesey is the Chief Quality Care and Strategy Officer for the Department of Behavioral Wellness. She works in the County Emergency Operation Center during emergency activations and has been there since the Thomas Fire began on December 4, 2017.

  • Maeve Juarez, Wildland Fire Specialist: Juarez has worked for the Montecito Fire Department for 18 months as a Wildland Fire Specialist.  Juarez spent her career working as a wildland firefighter on engines, hotshot crews, and helicopters and spent her last four years on the Los Padres National Forest as a Battalion Chief on the Ojai Ranger District. 

  • Lori Luhnow, Police Chief: Luhnow was sworn in as Santa Barbara's Chief of Police in 2016.  She is the first woman executive in the Department's one-hundred-seventeen year history to lead more than 140 sworn officers and 90 civilians.

  • Cris McCarty, Santa Barbara County Fire Captain: McCarty came to work for Santa Barbara County Fire in 1994 as a Firefighter/Paramedic.  McCarty and her crew responded the first night to Ventura City on the Thomas Fire and continued working for 14 days fighting fire in Ventura, along the 101, in La Conchita, Summerland and on the Camino Cielo.   Later, she and her crew responded in the early morning hours to the Montecito debris flow and continued working for 14 days searching in the debris.

  • Mona Miyasato, Santa Barbara County Executive Officer: Miyasato is the County Executive Officer for the County of Santa Barbara. She directs and coordinates the work of 22 County departments and over 4,200 employees.  As CEO, she serves as Director of Emergency Services and has experienced more than eight major emergency activations or proclaimed disasters in her tenure.

  • Cindy Pontes, California Highway Patrol Captain: Pontes has been with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) for 18 years.  She is a graduate of the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Command College, where she received the Hank Koehn Memorial Award.  Captain Pontes has worked in the communities of Central Los Angeles, Fresno, Glendale, Irvine and Santa Barbara.

  • Susan Salcido, County Superintendent of Schools: Salcido was named Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools in July 2017, unanimously voted by the County Board of Education. The Santa Barbara County Education Office supports 20 school districts, nearly 70,000 students, and partners with organizations countywide.


Jackson will honor Ventura County Women of the Year at a separate reception on Friday, April 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Ventura County Credit Union, 2575 Vista Del Mar Dr. Suite 100, Ventura.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.

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Bob Wilson Apr 21, 2018 05:02 PM
Sen. Jackson to Honor Women First Responders as Women of the Year

Isn’t it time yet to stop with this gender/race identity stuff? Men and women, Black, white, brown. We’re all people. Recognize people for their good deeds. Gender should not be a benchmark. It just serves to demonstrate differences, not similarities.

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