Meet Mariko Yamada – RP’s new State Assemblywoman
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By Jud Snyder  April 5, 2013 12:00 am

We’re in between elections this year, so it’s a good time to outline what political redistricting has done with our boundaries. This business of redistricting happens every 10 years following a national census. 

Theoretically, redistricting establishes parity in each district in regards to race, gender and population. But in a two-party democracy, politics does play an unspoken role.

Basic guidelines find the parts of Sonoma County closest to Rohnert Park and Cotati are divided into three State Assembly districts, the 2nd, 4th and 10th. 

On the attached map, the 2nd District  occupies the upper left corner including much of Santa Rosa, Windsor and Healdsburg. 

The 10th District takes up the lower portions and includes Cotati, Petaluma and the city of Sonoma. Marc Levine of San Rafael is the assemblyman here. The Community Voice had an article on this district last month.

This week’s subject is the 4th District and includes Rohnert Park, Napa (both city and county), Kenwood, Glen Ellen, Boyes Hot Springs, Calistoga, St. Helena, all of Lake County and eastward to include Dixon, Winters, Davis and Woodland. 

Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada of Davis represents this district.

Rohnert Park’s chunk of the fourth district resembles a lump of land protruding from the western boundary like a bunion on the foot of a large, sprawling assembly district. We’re not sure Yamada visited RP during her winning campaign last November.

She was born in Colorado in 1950, for her parents were interned in a Japanese relocation camp (Manzanar) until they were released. 

Yamada went to local schools in Colorado and earned a BA degree in Psychology at the University of Colorado and a Master’s degree in social work at the University of Southern California.

Her political experience includes terms as assemblywoman for the former 8th District, worked for the census bureau and the Civil Rights office of the Dept. of Commerce in Washington DC, and served four years on the Yolo County Board of Supervisors. 

Yamada married Janlee Wong in 1983. He’s the executive director of the California chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. They have two adult daughters, Meilee and Midori. 

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