Sep. 23—Rita Mashni says integrity, strong family values and true leadership is what is needed to make Lodi safer, healthier and more prosperous for its citizens, especially the children.
"Our children are our future, and a strong future depends on strong children shaped by strong families and strong communities," she said. "My biggest goal is to make our communities more inclusive and connected through inclusive zoning, fair housing laws, and ensuring everyone can access public transportation."
Mashni is one of two Lodians aiming to unseat incumbent Doug Kuehne on the Lodi City Council this November, along with Cameron Bregman, and said she decided to run because she loves the community and wants to make sure it remains a great place to live, work and raise a family.
"After the COVID-19 pandemic, Lodi has become unrecognizable," she said. "I can no longer just sit on the sidelines and enjoy the benefits of living in this great city as it deteriorates. It's time for me to get involved and change the direction of Lodi."
That direction, she said, is toward a robust economic recovery and long-term growth. She said she believes Lodi can be "an exciting city" with strong public safety, thriving businesses, good paying jobs and a top-tier education system.
She added that she is running to strengthen Downtown Lodi redevelopment and maintain fiscal responsibility at City Hall, as well as maintain a sense of local community by focusing on protecting family-owned businesses.
If elected, Mashni said she wants to tackle the city's homeless problem, reduce the crime rate and ensure that the Lodi Police Department is supported by the community.
Mashni added that she will be a voice for not only her District 3 constituents, but for residents throughout Lodi.
"One of the strongest reasons that instigated me to run for city council is that after knocking on doors and hearing my constituents' concerns, I noticed that none of them felt like their voices were being amplified and heard," she said. "I decided to run for city council to ensure their voices get delivered and heard. The city council is supposed to be the checks and balances that make sure that all the citizens of Lodi's voices are being heard."
A resident of Lodi for 19 years, Mashni is married with three children, and is a mental health counselor at Hope Ministries Family Shelters in Manteca.
She said her occupation has given her a better understanding of how to work with the homeless community, as well as how to seek funding and collaboration to develop a plan that will get Lodi's unsheltered back into society.
Other priorities she would like to address if elected include improving residents' quality of life by providing high-quality recreation and open space; enhancing Lodi's citywide mobility through transportation efforts; ensuring the city invests in infrastructure amenities such as facilities, streets, vehicles, and technology.
Born in Jerusalem, Israel, Mashni earned a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Delta College in 2018, and also has a degree in psychology and mental health counseling. She is currently working on a degree in international relations at University of the Pacific.
She has been a member of a number of civic and nonprofit organizations including Human Without Borders, AmeriCorps, and Californians for all Volunteers, and is currently involved with United Way of San Joaquin County.
"I am a non-partisan, independent, self-funded candidate with no ties to any political parties, groups, or individuals," she said. "I only answer to the citizens of Lodi. Believe me, when I say I am ready to represent my constituents in Lodi with strength and grace, and I have only our best interests in mind at all times."