Local business owner and chair of state commission on women and girls to run for Temecula City Council seat

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Dr. Alisha Wilkens. Valley News/Alisha Wilkens courtesy photo

A second hat has been thrown into the ring for the Temecula City Council district seat that 21-year council member Mike Naggar announced he would not seek this year.

Dr. Alisha Wilkins, a local business owner who also currently serves as chair of the state of California’s Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, will run for the city’s District 2 council seat this November. Wilkens made the announcement in a statement sent to Valley News.

Wilkins, an organizational psychologist, is the founder of Hera Hub Temecula, a women-focused business accelerator.

According to her statement, she has 20 years of experience in public affairs and government relations. Her bio on Hera Hub Temecula’s website says she was previously the owner of campaign strategy firm Empire Consulting Group, and for 10 years led the public affairs department of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest in Riverside County.

In her statement, Wilkins said her goal is to use her background to “help spark meaningful growth and positive transformation” in Temecula.

“Right now, we are undergoing a major shift in the United States, and today, the City of Temecula has an opportunity to be a part of the conversation around that shift,” Wilkins said in her announcement. “How we move forward as a City, in light of COVID and the unrest occurring on the national level, will impact each and every one of us – from the retired military family I go home to every night, to the families who have been here for many years, and individuals who are just joining our community. The shift starts with us and I am hopeful that I’ll have the opportunity to drive this shift as a City Councilmember for District 2.”

Wilkins was appointed to the state’s Commission on the Status of Women and Girls by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014. The commission makes regular reports on findings on the status of women in California and recommendations to the State Legislature and reviews state laws regarding women’s civil and political rights.

Wilkins’ statement said housing will be an area of focus for her if elected to the Temecula City Council.

“As the mother of a recent college grad, she knows how expensive it will soon be for her son to live in the town in which he grew up,” her statement said. “Once known as an affordable bedroom community, Temecula’s housing prices have escalated beyond the reach of many second and third generation Temeculans. Her service on the board of the Fair Housing Council of Riverside County, Inc. and her participation in the 2015 graduating class of the ‘Leadership Riverside Program,’ sponsored by Riverside Chamber of Commerce, has prepared her to tackle the housing crisis.”

This year’s election is the first in which the District 2 council seat will be contested since its creation when the Temecula City Council began transitioning to district elections three years ago. Naggar held an at-large seat for 21 years and would have been campaigning for re-election in District 2 had he not announced his intention to end his run on the council on June 24.

Denton Burr, an organizer of Black Lives Matter protests in Temecula, is so far the only other contender in District 2, though according to the city of Temecula he had not filed a candidate intention statement as of Thursday. Burr’s announcement that he would run for the seat came a little under two weeks prior to Naggar’s announcement that he would not.

According to information from the city, Wilkins had filed paperwork to run for the District 2 seat as of Thursday.

Staff Writer Jeff Pack contributed to this story.

Will Fritz can be reached by email at wfritz@reedermedia.com.