My name is Jay Foxworthy and I'm running for Sonoma County sheriff. I believe it's important that everyone have a better sense of the person behind the badge, especially when that person may be our next sheriff.
I'm a local boy, raised in Windsor, sometimes by my mother, but mostly by my grandparents. Much of my childhood was spent in poverty, living with a mentally ill, self-medicating, addict mother who was often in trouble with the law. During times of her incarceration, I was raised by my grandparents, an aunt and, sometimes, foster parents.
When I was nine, my mother had a nervous breakdown and I was comforted by a police officer who arrived at the scene. That one moment forever changed the way I saw law enforcement and the positive impact it can have on people. It's what inspired me to become a cop years later.
As a young man, I served three years honorably in the Army, got my degree from Santa Rosa Junior College and graduated from the police academy in 1996. I applied to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department, but I couldn't get hired here as an openly gay man. Instead, I found work as a deputy sheriff in San Francisco, where I've spent the last 22 years learning and practicing community policing policies.
Today, I live in Santa Rosa with my amazing husband, Bryan, and our two incredible adopted children. We've also fostered 15 amazing kids over the last decade.
As a result of all of these experiences, I have a unique perspective on the challenges many communities struggle with when it comes to law enforcement.
Our next sheriff should represent all of Sonoma County, with respect toward all. That means respecting immigrants and rebuilding community trust, reducing use of force, working with the community on homeless concerns, hiring for diversity, modernizing jail services and adopting cannabis policies that reflect our community's values.
We have a "once in a generation" opportunity to set a new course for our sheriff's office. As we begin this conversation, I hope you'll reach out to me at foxworthyforsheriff.com and share your ideas too.
Jay Foxworthy is running for Sonoma County sheriff in the June 2018 election. This is the first in a series of planned Open Mics from declared candidates for sheriff.