SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) - Sparks Councilwoman Julia Ratti says she is a candidate for the state Senate District 13 seat left empty when Senator Debbie Smith died.
“I am devastated by the passing of my friend and mentor Senator Debbie Smith and heartbroken for her family, friends and all those who loved and admired her,” said Ms. Ratti. “I have spent the past week reflecting on her life of service and have made the decision to ask the voters of Senate District 13 for the honor of completing her term. While it feels so early to discuss this next step, I felt it important to be candid with the voters about my intentions in advance of the opening of candidate filing next week.”
“We are fortunate to live in a community blessed with many fine public servants, and Julia is no exception. Our family has seen Julia’s work ethic, her values and her dedication to improving our community firsthand,” said Debbie Smith’s daughter Erin. “We asked her to consider running for the State Senate because she cares deeply about the same issues my mom cared about, and we are thrilled that she has chosen to do so.”
Ratti is finishing her second term as councilwoman representing Ward 1. According to a release, "In her time on the council, she has focused on improving older neighborhoods including downtown’s Victorian Square, a quality parks and recreation system for all Sparks families and environmental sustainability projects. She also worked diligently to make the difficult decisions to balance the City budget during challenging economic times. One of her significant achievements is improved public safety through better oversight of emergency medical services across the county. She is currently the Chair of the Sparks Redevelopment District and the Vice Chair of the Washoe County Health District, a member of the Oversight Committee for School Facilities and a member of the Sparks Legislative Team. She has also served on the Sparks Parks and Recreation Commission and the Washoe County Senior Services Advisory Committee."
Ratti is employed by Girl Scouts of the USA where she serves as a Council Leadership Strategist providing consulting to local Girl Scout councils and leading strategic initiatives to improve scouting for all girls across the country. She served as the CEO of the Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada until Feb. 2015 when she joined the national office. Prior to joining Girl Scouts, Julia was the President of Strategic Management Services – a small business she founded to provide management and consulting services to nonprofit and governmental services.
Ratti, a Democrat, is running to fill the final two years of Democrat Smith's term. She will be in the June primary and then, if she wins that, the November general election. Her successor on the Sparks City Council will take over that job the day after the November general election. She is the first to announce a candidacy for Smith's seat.
Smith died February 20, 2016, of brain cancer.