By Tessa Smith
Our ballots for the June election came in the mail today. It has become a tradition in our house that we have a “ballot party,” where we discuss the candidates over dinner, a little “power to the people” music playing in the background, and we fill out our ballots together. We don’t mail our ballots. We go to the polling place, and cast our ballots in the voting box. Me, my children, and my grandchildren.
While planning our ballot party, my youngest voter asked if there were any candidates that I had already decided to vote for. I answered that Jeff Reisig is one of those candidates. Is he a Democrat or a Republican? she asked. I explained that the office of District Attorney is non-partisan, and that as a life-long Democrat, party affiliation wasn’t a factor in my choice. My young voter was really confused by this comment, until I told her why I believe he is the best candidate for the job.
Jeff Reisig has ushered in a new era of transparency, community engagement, and progressive programming to our Yolo County criminal justice system.
Last April, The Commons was launched in Yolo County. This data dashboard offers our community critical insight into our criminal justice system. It was developed by Measures for Justice, at the request of the DA, with input provided by community members every step of the way. One criticism of this dashboard is that it doesn’t provide “real time” data. I am glad it doesn’t. The data provided is vetted and validated by an outside, third party agent (MFJ), and that doesn’t happen in “real” time, but does make for trust and transparency in the process.
Upon the initial Commons data release, and pinpointing a documented disparity, Jeff Reisig was swift to implement a new policy that expanded access to mental health, addiction intervention, restorative justice, and other diversion programming. These programs are changing peoples’ lives, bringing healing and stability instead of incarceration.
Jeff Reisig demonstrates an understanding that criminal justice is about more than crime and punishment. He established the Multi-Cultural Community Council seven years ago, to regularly engage with community members on the issues of the day, and to receive stakeholder input on new projects and policies under consideration by his office. I am a member of the MCCC, and appreciate the value Jeff places on community engagement.
Neighbors, maybe you’ll have a ballot party at your house and start a new tradition.
I hope you will join me in electing Jeff Reisig Yolo County District Attorney.