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Jensen running to take back her council seat
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Lawrence Livermore Lab financial analyst Carolyn Jensen is campaigning to return to her former seat on the Ripon City Council in the Nov. 2 election. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin
RIPON - Carolyn Jensen is in a race for one of two seats on the Ripon City Council hoping to get back to helping guide the city as she did for four years between 2000 and 2004.

Jensen, one of four Ripon residents who have taken out candidate papers, has worked as a financial analyst for the past 18 years with the Lawrence Livermore Radiation Lab.  During her tenure she has managed multimillion dollar projects supported by public funds as well as managing the associated contracts.

Contracts on the federal level include that of the U.S. Geological Survey and the Department of Agriculture.  Budgets she has overseen include research institutes, universities, the California Water Board and foreign government agencies.

Also running for the two open seats on the council are current mayor Chuck Winn,  incumbent council member Dean Uecker as well as former councilman Dan Prince.

Jensen first became involved in city business in Ripon when she demonstrated an interest and was appointed to the planning commission by then councilman Don Moyer.  She stayed with the commission for six years becoming chairman before running a successful campaign for city council.

During her four years on the council she served two of those years as vice mayor.

“My experiences enable me to make the right decisions for our city in this challenging economic climate,” she said.

During her term Jensen successfully fought to prevent a housing development to be located at the entrance of Stouffer Park feeling it would shadow the upscale park site.  Jensen also worked to establish the Community and Youth Commission designed to improve the quality of life for Ripon’s senior citizens, youth and families.

Should she be elected she intends to work to reopen the (PAL) Police Activities League youth center that has been shuttered on Main Street because of budget constraints.  Jensen served on the Soroptimist Club’s “Kid Keepers” committee years ago that was a forerunner to the Stone Soup effort for children needing a place to go before and after school.

A Ripon resident for some 17 years, she is thrilled with her recent trip to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.  Daughter Brittany, 21,  is in her senior year there – now a “Firstie” – and Jensen made the trip to see the ceremony where cadets were given their class rings.

She and her husband Gary, of 31 years, have another daughter still at home, Julia, a junior at Ripon High School – a member of the high school year book staff.  Two older daughters Ann Marie and Monique have provided grandchildren – two boys and a girl.

Proud of her family and its longevity, she said her parents still live in San Jose and are currently in their 90s.

In the past Jensen has served as chairman for the PAL Youth Center Board of Directors, served as a boardmember for the San Joaquin Parterniship Economic Development Board and served on the San Joaquin County Library working group

She said she is concerned about the move to privitize the county library system and the personnel that might be put into the Ripon Library in a possible cost cutting move.  Jensen noted that the current librarian Melinda Kopp has a degree in Library Science.  A replacement could possibly have only a high school diploma, she fears.

Senior and youth transportations services are a serious need in the community she said.  While Ripon is in the Modesto (Yosemite) Junior College District, a bus connects only with Stockton and Delta College from Ripon, she said.  It is something more doable than it was five years ago, she added.

As she did in her first campaign Jensen plans to hand out fly swatters at the Oct. 16 Main Street Days event in downtown Ripon.  The significance is demonstrating her intent to “swat out” the unnecessary elements in the city budget, she said.

Jensen said she hopes to help in developing a more fiscally strong sustainable city budget while seeing a restoration of the streets, landscaping and park maintenance.  She also helps to see additional parking and lighting in the downtown area.

She sees the old Nestles Coffee plant parking lot as more than a commuters’ parking lot – additional parking for downtown Ripon.  A commuter herself, she said it can be scary walking around the curving roadway at night to reach a parked car.  Access to the lot must be improved, she stressed.