Laura McAndrews Sammel, executive director of the Lake County Chamber of Commerce, is one of four candidates campaigning for the District 4 Supervisor position in the 2024 Lake County election.
LAKEPORT >> Executive experience and a priority for health care and filling county vacancies may be good candidates for Laura McAndrews Sammel in her campaign for the District 4 Supervisor position next year.
She is currently the executive director of the Lake County Chamber of Commerce, which oversees more than 300 businesses throughout the county. Her experience in healthcare and human resource management are two qualifications she highlights. She also has a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a specialization in human resources management.
“I have not held public office, but my experience in economic development and health care will strongly position me to help advance the county’s economic and health care priorities,” he said.
Sammel and her husband live in North Lakeport, where they have a home and raised their three children together. Two of them are graduates of Clear Lake High School, where her husband taught Spanish for 20 years. She has lived in Lake County for over 17 years.
Along with more than 20 years of executive-level business experience, Sammel served on the Lake County Economic Development Corporation, the Lakeport Economic Development Advisory Committee, the Lake Subcommittee for the North Bay Workforce Alliance and the Lake County Arts Council. He also serves on the Lake County Blue Zones Project Steering Committee.
“My strong background in human resource management consulting can be used to develop recruitment and retention strategies to address the county’s high turnover,” he said. And her experience in healthcare management convinces her to make it a top priority for the county by improving access to quality healthcare.
“I will significantly increase funding for the county’s behavioral health care services and design the most strategic use of the opioid funds soon coming to the county,” he said. “And I will work to improve the health of this county, which ranks last in California’s health care rankings.”
Regarding the county’s top issue, Sammel promised, “Improving Lake County’s economy is a top issue because of its direct correlation to the well-being of the community. A strong economy ensures job creation, encourages local employment opportunities and reduces unemployment rates, thus improving the quality of life of residents,” Sammel stressed.
Addressing homelessness is one of the biggest problems in District 4, he noted. “First and foremost, it is essential to the well-being of homeless people, providing them with access to shelter, food and medical care,” Sammel said. “Second, addressing homelessness contributes to public safety and reduces the likelihood of crime.” And addressing homelessness is vital to the overall health and prosperity of the community, she said. Stable housing is also a critical factor in breaking the cycle of poverty and fostering economic stability. That has been a priority for the current board and she will continue that work.
To address the historic bushfire threat, Sammel will support efforts currently underway, such as those provided by the Community Risk Reduction Authority, the Housing Retrofit Project led by North Coast Opportunities, the Councils County Fire Safety Department and other task forces. “I also plan to push for efforts to reduce the cost of homeowners insurance, both for homes and businesses,” she said.
Sammel is also very aware of the vacancies in the county. “I know the county has a qualified human resources director,” she said. “I also know that the county has looked at the compensation of county employees and made adjustments based on similar positions in other county governments, so we are off to a good start.”
And he noted that a great way to prevent vacancies in any company is to retain current talent. “I will focus on providing development and promotion opportunities; ensuring that every employee is valued, respected and heard,” he said. “Also provide benefits packages that are flexible. So after many years as a human resources professional, I know that compensation is rarely the main reason a person leaves a job.”
Another important issue Sammel raised is simplifying the permitting process for businesses, which is crucial as it encourages entrepreneurship and a more favorable environment for economic growth. “The Community Development Department team is talented and wants the best results for business owners,” she said.
Parks and public spaces are also essential to Lake County, promoting physical health and community engagement, he noted. They enhance the aesthetic appeal of the region, attracting tourists, supporting local businesses and fostering a sense of environmental stewardship among residents.
Maintaining decorum will also help your efforts. “My attitude is one of collaboration and innovation, which positions me well to serve on the board,” he said. “My ability to work effectively with stakeholders fosters cooperation and consensus within the community.”
He added: “Respecting each other’s ideas, thinking outside the box and working together are the only ways to find a solution.”