During David Rabbitt’s time in office, he’s been a major advocate of improving our roads and infrastructure, supporting our economic vitality, balancing the budget, preserving our agricultural heritage, reforming our pension system, protecting our environment and supporting other essential government services, including affordable housing, senior services, healthcare and public safety. Some of his accomplishments as Supervisor include:
As a Supervisor and Board Member/Past Chair of the Sonoma County Transportation Authority, David Rabbitt has been a champion for improving Sonoma County’s road network. When David took office, he co-authored the Long Term Roads Plan, which was later approved by the Board of Supervisors and has led to a tenfold increase in road repairs, from $2 million annually when David took office to more than $20 million annually today.
Under David's leadership, more than $128 million has been invested in road repair and repaving projects across Sonoma County over the last decade, including dozens of miles of roads in Southern Sonoma County jurisdictions in unincorporated areas of Two Rock, Petaluma, Penngrove, Cotati and Rohnert Park. Some of the many miles of road repair work since David took office includes sections of Lakeville Road, Lichau Road, Old Redwood Highway (between Cotati city limits and Petaluma city limits), Mecham Road, Stony Point Road (between Highway 116 and Petaluma city limits), Corona Road, Roberts Road, Petaluma Hill Road, D Street west of Petaluma city limits, Bodega Avenue, Frates Road, Lynch Road, Valley Ford-Freestone Road, Middle Two Rock Road, Liberty Road, Pepper Road, Eucalyptus Avenue, Skillman Lane, Thompson Lane and Eastman Lane, amongst others.
David also supported the signalization of Adobe Road at East Washington Street to make the road safer for motorists and pedestrians. Despite the remarkable progress by the Board over the last several years after decades of neglect, David knows we cannot let up on the continued need to repair our roads, and he will continue making road repairs a top priority in the future. But Sonoma County is headed in the right direction, with more road repaving projects approved by the Board of Supervisors over the next two years, including:
A Petaluma resident, David Rabbitt regularly commutes through rush-hour traffic congestion on Highway 101. As a member of the Sonoma County Transportation Authority and Metropolitan Transportation Commission, he’s been a staunch advocate for completing the freeway widening project to alleviate this traffic bottleneck once and for all. While the SMART Train (to which David was elected to a two-year term as Chairman of SMART's Board of Directors) has provided some relief, David knows the only lasting solution to freeway traffic congestion will be three lanes of freeway in each direction throughout all of Marin County and Sonoma County up to the Central Windsor exit.
Since David took office, there has been significant movement in this direction, including the reconstruction of the Petaluma River Bridge to handle three lanes of traffic between the Petaluma River Bridge and county line, along with ongoing progress to widen 101 between Highway 116 and Corona Road, which is currently under construction and set to open in late 2022 (as of December 2021, there is now a 3rd temporary, northbound carpool lane from the county line to Windsor pending the completion of the full widening of Highway 101 in Sonoma County). Despite this progress, David recognizes the full scope of work isn't done until there's a 3rd lane of freeway from the Golden Gate Bridge to downtown Windsor...on that note, David has also advocated for the Novato Narrows segment of the project to bring the entire Highway 101 widening project to completion; the Novato Narrows portion of the project is now funded and set to start construction in Spring 2022, which should allow the Marin County portion of the project to wrap up and open to the public by late 2023 or early 2024. David will not let up in this effort until both segments of the project are constructed, completed and opened for public use.
David was elected to the Board of Supervisors during the depths of the Great Recession. Budget cuts and stretching a dollar were both ways of life when David entered county government. But by taking a pro-local business approach that sought to encourage business expansion in our area, our economy and employment rates have rebounded, and employment numbers and economic strength are at record highs. COVID-19 has posed serious challenges for businesses to hire and retain workers, but David has worked to break down barriers for businesses to facilitate growth and stronger employment opportunities.
David was a leading voice in pension reform efforts, part of a larger issue of effective fiscal management. David serves on the Sonoma County Employee Retirement Association (SCERA) Board of Directors to understand the needs of our valued county employee retirees, while also balancing the need to be an effective steward of our tax dollars. Long before David took office, Supervisors enacted retroactive pay and pension increases that have ballooned more than 500% since the early 2000's. David knows those decisions were recklessly unsustainable, and has been working ever since to ensure we are fair to taxpayers, while also taking care of the public employees who depend on retirement resources in their later years. While it has been a difficult balancing act, Sonoma County has made significant strides to reduce unfunded liabilities, by enacting a new, more equitable pension tier for new and future county employees, and eliminating loopholes in the system that allowed former county employees, particularly those in management positions, to “spike” their pensions just before retirement. Thanks to David's leadership, county pensions are nearly 90% funded, reversing the unfunded liabilities just a decade ago not long after he took office.
David knows agriculture is the lifeblood of the 2nd District and Sonoma County at-large. During his first campaign for Supervisor and during his re-election campaigns, David had the strong support of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, who knew that David understood the needs of agriculture and a commitment to preserving agriculture for future generations. David has advocated for policies to help small farming families, while also using public dollars to secure easements to permanently protect our agricultural lands for future generations. Tolay Lake and McClelland Dairy are just two examples of agricultural preservation projects in the 2nd District.
David serves on Sonoma County’s Regional Climate Protection Authority, has approved electric vehicle charging stations, and been a supporter of renewable energy projects. Equally important, David has advocated for the protection of our local parks, greenbelts and open space areas to preserve the tranquility and stunning landscape we’ve all been able to enjoy as residents. David is committed to being both a steward of our land while moving Sonoma County forward to remain on the cutting edge of clean and renewable energy resources. He is proud to support countywide climate action initiatives and local, environmentally-focused projects as well, including funding to create a linear park on the McNear Peninsula in downtown Petaluma.
The 2017 wildfires brought into sharp focus the infrastructure and technological preparedness deficiencies facing Sonoma County after one of the most devastating natural disasters hit Sonoma County since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. While the 2nd Supervisorial District was largely out of harm's way, David clearly recognized the shortcomings and need to act to make Sonoma County more prepared for future emergencies.
Following the 2017 wildfires, David Rabbitt voted to support the creation of Sonoma County's Department of Emergency Management, with an emphasis on improved emergency alert & warning systems, as well as using technology to aid in the detection of future wildfires. The lessons learned and operational improvements made between 2017 and today are clear, evident through the county's robust response to the 2019 Kincade Fire and 2020 Wahlbridge Fire, where residents were well-informed on the public safety threats posed by these more recent natural disasters. Furthermore, Sonoma County has become a national leader in expanding the use of fire cameras atop fire-prone ridgelines throughout the county. Sonoma County has a network of approximately 30 fire cameras today, including two recently installed in the Petaluma area to keep watch and help protect Southern Sonoma County. David will continue to be an advocate for emergency preparedness initiatives to protect life and property now and in the years ahead.
As a father, David knows the safety of our community is critically important to preserve our quality of life, not only for our youth but also for seniors and residents of all walks of life. Recent wildfires have changed the public safety paradigm to not just include law enforcement, but fire protection services as well. David has a strong working relationship with public safety organizations, and has been working to preserve the safety of our community while increasing transparency and accountability in law enforcement operations. As part of this, David supported the creation of the Independent Office of Law Enforcement Review and Outreach (IOLERO), and will continue to be a strong voice for safe communities in the future. He has also been a strong backer of rural fire districts, providing funding to support their operations while incentivizing the consolidation of rural fire districts to ensure their long-term vitality.
David has been supportive of efforts to combat homelessness, address issues of mental health, and sustain healthcare services for our indigent and vulnerable populations. Healthcare services is one of the larger recipients of the county’s General Fund dollars, and David will continue working to support important social service initiatives, while continuing to partner with Sonoma County’s Cities to address social service issues for those who need it most.
“No one has worked harder or got more done for Sonoma County than Supervisor David Rabbitt. He is widely viewed as the Board of Supervisors’ most steady and stable hand, and has delivered for all of us, not only on agricultural issues, but also on issues including road repair and improvement projects, public transportation, housing and so much more. When I think of someone who gets things done for Sonoma County, David Rabbitt is the first person that comes to mind. We need his proven leadership on the Board of Supervisors now more than ever.”
- Marilyn Herzog, 3rd Generation Petaluma Dairy Farmer