WatchSonoma Watch

Renee explores bid for Congress

Tiffany Renee


Petaluma City Councilwoman Tiffany Renee has formed an exploratory committee to run for Lynn Woolsey’s congressional seat after the longtime lawmaker retires next year.

Renee said she is raising funds and exploring a run for the 6th Congressional District seat, “pending redistricting.”

Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael; Norman Solomon, a prominent Marin County activist and author; and Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams also have formed campaign committees to run for Woolsey’s seat.

The district’s boundaries are currently being redrawn as part of a redistricting process. Two drafts of revised district maps showed far different configurations for both Woolsey’s district and the 1st District seat held by Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena.

The latest map would dramatically change Woolsey’s district, removing from it southern Sonoma County and Marin County but extending it north and east to pick up Lake and Napa counties. The final draft is due July 28.

Woolsey, D-Petaluma, announced recently that she will retire when her current term is up in 2012.

“I am raising funds and engaging in dialogue that may lead to a congressional run,” Renee said in a statement announcing her intention.

“If redistricting includes the North Bay communities I’ve been working for these past 20 years, then I intend to carry on my fight for those communities. I see it as the same fight Representative Woolsey has taken on for 10 terms as a fellow woman, Petaluma neighbor and former councilmember. I helped her first get elected, fought for her when her seat was challenged and I want to help continue her work now.”

Renee, 39 and a Democrat, was elected to the Petaluma council in 2008. She runs her own website design firm.

32 Responses to “Renee explores bid for Congress”

  1. Another Outrage says:

    Tiff needs to find a new line of work. Maybe something in knitting cat blankets or dog boots. Politics is way out of her league.

  2. Ms. Renee has been a good councilwoman for Petaluma; and I’m troubled by what I consider trivial personal attacks about her knitting during a council meeting. As a frequent attendee of Petaluma’s council meetings, I find Ms. Renee an attentive and inquisitive councilwoman. But it’s hard to get behind her candidacy when Norman Solomon already is running. He’s devoted his life to national politics; and, in an age when cliche’, personal attacks, and opportunism too often dominate our national scene, he’s been a longtime voice for a principled, democratic politics, addressing difficult issues like our nation’s spending priorities and foreign policies. Go to his web sites, read his commentaries and books (Some can be found free online), watch his movie “War Made Easy” (It’s also free online), and read about what he’s done. As I’ve stated before, I wish he was running for President. I’m thankful he’s at least running for Congress.

  3. Jay says:

    Now why did they remove this from the most commented section ?

  4. Interesting Posts says:

    I stand corrected – I did not know Tiffany Renee had knitted while sitting as an elected official during a public meeting. I agree. That is not appropriate.

    All my other comments stand. The 2nd District Supervisor’s race is relevant here because you all are attacking Renee when, in fact, Rabbitt, a first term Councilmember with less experience than Tiffany Renee all the way around was selected as the candidate to replace Mike Kerns and keep that group in office. And tactics used were racist, underhanded and slimy. It follows the current elected official and will continue to, everywhere he goes. Had he been able to run from a place of experience and integrity, plus not use racist campaign literature, I would not be making these comments.

    As it is, his office is sullied by how he got there and always will be.

    Renee is highly unlikely, win or lose, to use the same campaign tactics and slime used by the Rabbitt campaign – of course, you would like for people to forget about it.

  5. Facts says:

    @Interesting Posts,

    As you stated, get your facts straight. Here is the video of Renee knitting on the dais, of course during the Regency/Target public comment. http://petaluma.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=1045

    Why are you bringing up the supervisor race in this forum when the subject is Tiffany Renee? Let it go! You do nothing but open up old wounds. Stick with the subject at hand and that is Tiffany Renee who has NO chance whatsoever to beat Huffman or Solomon and Pam too if she decides to enter the race! We are talking years and years of experience vs zilch!

  6. Kim says:

    Interesting Posts wrote: “If Renee chooses to knit while sitting in the audience of a City Council meeting, that’s her choice. If she had been taking notes or reading something from a book, would that be offensive, too? Because a lot of people do that, as well as check emails and text during meetings while sitting in the audience. She did not knit while sitting as a Councilmember on the dais.”

    WRONG! She DID, IN FACT, knit while sitting on the dias as a City Council member! Its right there on the city’s web site for all to see. That’s EXACTLY what Manuel was refering to! That coolaid ya’ll have been drinking is finally having some serious effects on your ability to recall facts……..

  7. Confused says:

    @ Interesting Posts

    I agree the Rabbitt mailers were tinged with racism and they were inexcusable. If Bly was involved in that, shame on him.

    But that has nothing to do with Tiffany. It may be true that some racists will not vote for Tiffany. That isn’t a surprise and Tiffany shouldn’t worry about that. What should be a concern is how she expects to peel local progressives away from supporting Huffman, Solomon, or Adams.

    Tiffany has every right to explore a run and we have every right to question it. But let’s not turn this into something it isn’t. There are indeed people here who would attack any progressive – and they did attack Pam. But again, that’s expected and shouldn’t concern Tiffany. What she needs to focus on is how she can actually get support when even the few people who like her realize she has no chance against the more experienced candidates (was going to say “stronger” but realized I’d be called “sexist” for doing so).

    Tiffany has the record she has and it speaks for itself. It’s not all bad, but unfortunately some of the things she’s said and done have ruined her chances for elective office.

    Still, ego or guts, in a way I applaud her for stepping up. Doesn’t mean I think she is electable and it doesn’t mean I’ll vote for her. I won’t and neither will most people in the “base” she thinks she has. But let’s stick to the point that there are other candidates who are far more capable and better prepared. If Pam were running, I’d support her. That’s what Tiffany needs to understand – she isn’t Pam regardless of having some of the support of her base in the past. The other good thing about this is that it hopefully means she won’t run for council.

    And yes, still looking for an answer as to where the claim of her fighting for this district for 20 years comes from. Again, she didn’t get to Council until 2009 so what exactly is she referring to? Why not be honest? It’s perfectly ok that you are a first term council member – why try to fluff it up so artificially with a phony 20 year record? Just focus on why your single term and life experience makes you a suitable choice. No need to exaggerate and claim since you were 19 you were “working for the North Bay communities” – unless you care to back it up with a real record of real accomplishments.

  8. Interesting Posts says:

    No, what you describe is not how the 2nd Distrit Supervisor’s race was won – and the relevance relates to John Bly’s comment of wanting to see who Renee’s funders are if she decides to run.

    Let’s not be hypocritical. The racist campaign literature that brought out the racists and people afraid of immigrants, based on the IEC racist campaign piece, trying to link Pam Torliatt to undocumented immigrants and murders was paide for by an IEC that supported David Rabbitt. It was dirty and underhanded – and that shall remain the truth.

    It’s too bad he didn’t get elected on his own merits – but, oh wait, he was a 1-term Councilmember who had no experience and knew nothing about the rural community he was going to represent – but he surely wore those checkered shirts, gosh darn it, in the campaign photos and tried to play the role of the good ole boy you all needed to continue to be in office.

    Now that’s the truth. If Renee chooses to knit while sitting in the audience of a City Council meeting, that’s her choice. If she had been taking notes or reading something from a book, would that be offensive, too? Because a lot of people do that, as well as check emails and text during meetings while sitting in the audience. She did not knit while sitting as a Councilmember on the dais.

    Get your facts straight. And own up to the truth. You all have to live with it.

  9. BigDogatPlay says:

    @ Interesting Posts

    In your drive to fluff what is essentially a dilettante candidacy for Congress (I too would vote for Pam Torliatt, whom I despise politically, ahead of Tiff), you aren’t doing Ms. Renee any favors with your screeds. Tiff is just flat clueless across a variety of issues and this “exploratory committee” move of hers smacks deeply of both ego and chutzpah. She has no particular record of acheivement, largely the same thing that crippled Torliatt’s two failed bids for higher office, and her antics over the ‘gun boat’ made her look like a complete tool in the press.

    Yeah, real strong candidate for Congress there. At least Lynn Woolsey had the “welfare mom became successful businesswoman” thing going for her. And an actual record of achievement during her time on the council.

    Say…. you weren’t, by chance, an unsuccessful candidate for the school board last year, were you? Or are you just Tiff’s campaign manager?

  10. Kim says:

    Interesting Posts; The Truth is that Pam lost the Supervisor race all on her own. When the heck are her supporters going to get over the election results and quit throwing the race card out there all the time? It didn’t stick then and it doesn’t stick now. I don’t care how many times you throw it up against the wall, it just won’t stick. Just when are people running for office going to start accepting responsibility for what they say and do instead of pointing fingers? I have no doubt that you’re probably still ticked off the Bush won!

    Comparing Renee to Martha Washington, Madeleine Albright and the rest is laughable. Using your reasoning then all doctors make great brain surgeons. Manuel is absolutely RIGHT. When a citizen comes to a City Council meeting and speaks to the people on the dias, it is like then sticking up the middle finger to the speaker by not paying attention to what the speaker is saying. You and MS Renee have your agenda and do not, will not even consider what the other side (or anyone even with a slightly different opinion) has to say. Since that incedent that Manuel mentions, funny that she hasn’t knitted on the dias since…if it is so acceptable, why then has she not done it? The answer is obvious, isn’t it?

  11. Interesting Posts says:

    Here’s something you won’t like, as you are close-minded and judgmental. But, it’s an article online from a newspaper you probably will like, the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News…

    And, by the way, Renee’s comment about North Korea and war ships is nothing compared to the horrifying idea supported by the Petaluma Chamber of Commerce to bring an old war ship full of PCPs and toxins and try and anchor it in Petaluma. Really healthy thinking for our community’s future – just like the Chamber of Commerce supporting an asphalt plant 200 feet from sensitive wetlands, marshes, wildlife, and human visitors of all ages and backgrounds…

    Knitting has a rich history in American politics

    Daily News correspondent

    Published: November 3rd, 2008 11:07 PM
    Last Modified: November 6th, 2008 03:00 AM

    Today is the most important American day of all. It’s election day. The political candidates have drawn our attention to their virtues, their foibles, and for some, their appearances on Saturday Night Live. But like many other knitters, I want to know if they knit.

    Last spring I had a confidential conversation with one of our national politicians who admitted knowing how to knit.

    Well I have been thinking about this admission, and it made me realize that many politicians, first ladies and Cabinet heads have practiced the fine art of knitting.

    In fact since the days of President George Washington, knitting has seen more days in the White House than any of these politicians ever will.

    To get a better look at how knitting made it to the White House, I consulted a good source, “No Idle Hands, The Social History of American Knitting” by Anne L. Macdonald (Ballantine Books, $12.95). I can’t recommend this wonderful history book enough, and I think it should be required reading for all knitters to better see themselves as part of an American experience — the experience of knitting while we shape our country’s policies and its unity.

    Before the American Revolution it was considered patriotic for one to boycott English-made goods and materials.

    Household virtues that included knitting were revived and practiced as a show of liberty. First ladies Martha Washington and Abigail Adams no doubt knew how to knit. Most refined, young ladies of that period were schooled in needlework that included knitting, crochet, lace, needlepoint, embroidery and fine sewing.

    There are records that tell how Martha Washington (1731-1802) helped with a drive to sell knitted socks to raise money for the troops, while Abigail Adams (1744-1818) resented that women were rigidly stereotyped as too trifle to do more than knit.

    First lady Edith Roosevelt (1861-1948), an avid knitter, regularly invited friends to the White House for knitting and socializing. Her socials were so famous for the political discourse, that some in Washington feared them for what was said. It was also reported that she sat knitting to calm herself before her daughter’s wedding.

    First lady Grace Coolidge (1879-1957) was a highly skilled knitter. She once helped to sponsor a knitting competition that was judged by major fashion magazines, including Vogue, and her anonymous entry of a knitted baby carriage robe was awarded an honorable mention.

    Like most knitters, she was generous with her work, donating to bazaars and benefit raffles, but she was widely regaled for her expertise at knitting monogrammed silk stockings.

    A self-taught knitter, first lady Lou Hoover (1874-1944), was also generous with her knitted pieces.

    She often wrote her own patterns, called recipes and when one friend spotted a mistake, Mrs. Hoover chided her not to rip it out, but to repeat it in the next row and make a pattern of it.

    Perhaps the most famous White House knitter was first lady Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962). She was such an avid knitter that she dragged her knitting bag everywhere she went and was once introduced as “first knitter of the land.”

    Her passion for knitting became her way of unifying American women to knit for the troops during World War II, and she was pictured on the White House Christmas card with her knitting in her hands.

    When she began her own work with the United Nations, her penchant for knitting made her appear to some as not very serious, but her legacy proved she was anything but.

    White House women don’t just include first ladies. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, was born in Poland, where knitting is an everyday skill.

    Her knitting skills helped her to focus on her work as an international diplomat, teacher and humanitarian.

    Join these American knitters who helped shape our country — one stitch at a time and one vote at a time. Go vote!


    Catherine Hollingsworth, interior designer, artist and professional knitwear designer, has lived in Alaska for 18 years. She is interim president of the Alaska State Yarn Council and past president of Knitters of the North. To reach her, e-mail twosticks@adnmail.com.


    Correction: A notice for the Knitters of the North Guild that appeared on this column Tuesday, gave the wrong time for the guild meeting. It is Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.

    Read more: http://www.adn.com/2008/11/03/577643/knitting-has-a-rich-history-in.html#ixzz1S16En8SR

  12. Demosthenes says:

    This two articles are all I need to read to determine that I will NOT vote for Renee. One is a PD article (http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20100922/COMMUNITY/100929842 ) and the other is an editorial from the PD.


    EDITOR: The city of Petaluma has just gone through a major decision in the economic landscape of our city.

    There were high emotions both pro and con for the Regency project. And the City Council had to make some very difficult choices.

    Most listened to the citizens speak. However, one council member of the Petaluma City Council showed she had no interest in what the public had to say.
    I know this is going to sound like some comedy sketch out of Saturday night live, but it isn’t. I am not making this up, and you can view it for yourself on the Petaluma City Council Web site.

    Councilwoman Tiffany Renee thought it was the proper use of her time during public comments to knit — while sitting at the dais. How disrespectful can a person be? How can the mayor let such a thing happen? Is this any way to run a meeting about some life-changing decisions?

    Is this any way for a elected official to show her citizens they have her undivided attention?

    Renee has said it helps her think. So what is next? A deck of cards for a game of solitaire?

    Three more years are three years too long. She has to go. I am still out of work, so maybe I will run for City Council. I promise I will leave my knitting needles at home.


  13. Interesting Posts says:

    @ Confused

    The hypocrites posting on this forum include familiar voices in the last 2nd District Supervisorial campaign.

    They’ve been salivating to be able to go after someone else – to deflect the racist campaign literature and their tactics to help elect David Rabbitt.

    Regardless of whether you are a Democrat who didn’t support Rabbitt, there are many who post in this particular forum who were involved. And John Bly, in particular, saying he wants to see who funds Renee’s campaign is like saying I hope people have forgotten who of us helped fund the racist tactics that got our wholly inexperienced and image-created candidate elected to the seat of 2nd District Supervisor.

    If you supported Torliatt in the last election for Supervisor, suggest you connect some dots and be astute in your observations and comments.

    The types of postings here are exactly the same. Renee is more qualified than Rabbitt on many levels to be the 2nd District Supervisor, even though she’s a first term Council member as well. I don’t think anyone has recruited her to be a fake-experienced, can-do, but-keep-the-racists’ candidate in office, at least.

    She appears to be exploring the possibility and maybe she will decide to not pursue it. But, the venom and nastiness in this forum – is just reflective of the people who helped put Rabbitt into office. His lackluster and hope-people-won’t-notice-what-I’m-doing-too-much approach to being the Supervisor is being quite noticed and followed.

    The truth is the truth.

  14. Confused says:

    @ Interesting

    It’s amusing that those posting here who don’t consider Renee to be qualified for Congress are automatically assumed to be Rabbitt supporters. Hate to burst your bubble.

    In fact, there are many progressive Democrats who won’t be supporting Renee for a variety of reasons in addition to inexperience. I supported Pam (the more qualified candidate) in the race for Supervisor and I will likely support Solomon or Huffman in the race for Congress (also both more experienced).

    Even among progressives with similar values, Renee lacks the support to even come close to pulling this off.

  15. Interesting Posts says:

    Just like the one-term City Councilmember from Petaluma you all set your sights on and created as an “experienced” character to run for 2nd District Supervisor – who was clueless about the rural community – but wore those checkered shirts and showed up for all those gosh-darned BBQs and gatherings – to create the image he would know what he was doing…

    Wonder how high the grass in his backyard is.

  16. A Measured Opinion says:

    Ms. Renee needs to set her sights on cuting the grass in her own backyard before she trys to give us a haircut in Washington.

    She hasn’t earned her spurs in Petuluma and already she’s packing her bags for Washington.

    This lady has more nerve than my aching tooth.

  17. Interesting Posts says:

    One thing for sure, the response to these comments reflects what everyone knows – who mostly posts on these forums.

    For John Bly – most of us are waiting to learn about more of the funders for that IEC 2nd District Supervisor’s immigrants-will-kill-us-all brochure circulated against Pam Torliatt just before election day by David Rabbitt’s supporters. Some have been discovered and, boy, are they not surprising, but interesting.

    Whoever supports Renee with funding, we know it wouldn’t be the racists who desperately formed that IEC to help elect David Rabbitt. And they probably would not be supporting Huffman, Solomon or Adams either, fortunately. Unless, of course, they think votes can be bought for them by supporting one of the other 3 or their “chosen” candidate – so people will be looking at those funding sources, too.

  18. Another Fine Mess says:

    Tiffany “Gun Boat” Renee is fully armed and ready to assume command of the good ship “Woolsey” which is about to leave dry dock and set sail over the horizon.

    Only one problem, Gun Boat has never been at sea and can’t tell her left from her right because she always has turned left in a never ending search for her direction in life.

  19. Kim says:

    OK…OK….now that I’ve wiped the tears out of my eyes and my stomach has recovered from intense laughter, I can comment. The first time she ran for city council she came in dead last. Now, this delusional woman thinks that just because she was elected to office on the coat tails of David Glass and Pam Torliatt that she has been mandated to run for Congress. This HAS to be a joke, right? This isn’t news. Come on Press Democrat, this article needs to be placed on the comics page right between Bizarro & Bliss.

  20. BigDogatPlay says:

    Tiff would seem a natural successor for the true believer progressives post Woolsey. However, the realities of what the district is going to become through the current re-districting process is going to make her a very small fish in a very, very large pond.

    A pond that won’t be nearly as progressive in demographic as the Sixth District has been through the Burton / Boxer / Woolsey era.

    Tiff has the shallowest resume of any of the announced or planned candidacies, by far. I think her budding career as a professional progressive politician would be better served if she set aside her inner Torliatt and concentrated on solving problems here in Petaluma.

    That way she can feel the sting more sharply when we run her out of office next year.

  21. sheryl says:

    I can’t stop laughing! Funniest thing I’ve heard in quite a while. Thanks Tiffany for the good laugh!

  22. Frank says:

    Wait,don’t we have a president with the same Credentials

  23. Dan Delgado says:

    Be careful about dismissing Renee too quickly. I never thought Shirlee Zane had a chance over Sharon Wright, but boy was I wrong on that one.

  24. Petaluma Dave says:

    First Renee is worried that an old World War II rusty gun boat tied up in Petaluma would make Petaluma a nuclear target for North Korea.

    Now she wants to run for Congress to spread her fears to whole country. What qualifies her for the position? Three years on the Petaluma city council and being a self employed web designer.

    What better qualifications can you have?She certainly can’t be faulted for a lack of hubris and ambition. But does she have to goods to make it all happen? Not so much.

    Lets all hope she stays where her qualifications are needed in web design and making off the wall comments about North Korean nuclear attacks on Petaluma. We will all sleep better at night.

  25. SP says:

    For the sake of all things decent, may she not be elected to any public office moving forward. Renee is a community advocate who likely truly believes that she’s doing the right thing. That, is precisely why she is such a drain. She serves the interest of the very few and with no regard for those that may see things differently.

    Let’s remember, this is aTransit Bosrd member that assists in the spending of resources as they relate to transportation in Sonoma County/Petaluma. Guess what we’ve got? Enough pot holes that eventually someone is going to get hurt or die, and the audacity to further restrict traffic through downtown with more “road diet.” It’s a common sense vacuum.

    Shes got nothing we need.

  26. Dave Madigan says:

    Whatever you do….don’t tell her that Washington DC would be a target in case of nuclear war. If she is made aware of that fact, she may not want to go to Washington to represent the district!

    I would vote for her just to get her out of Petaluma! Woolsey hasn’t dont anything for the district….maybe it would be a good place in which to get rid of Renee.

  27. John bly says:

    You cannot make this stuff up. I would love to see where her financial support comes from.

  28. 0 Representation says:

    Please let me save you some time and money.. don’t run. You don’t have enough experience nor do I believe you have what it takes to represent us. Ever.

  29. Incomprehensible says:

    The knowledge and funding is all in the Huffman and Solomon camps. Does Renee really believe she is qualified for Congress? She is barely qualified for city council!

  30. bewildered says:

    Confused, i’ll tell you how shes fought for the community. In the last 19 years you havent seen a potential nuclear weapon target parked in the Petaluma River have you. Shes a beauty, completly incompetent as a council member and she believes she should run for higher office. The one consolation is she would have little say in Petaluma business.

  31. Confused says:

    Correction for my previous post, she was elected in 2008 and began serving in 2009. That gives her nearly three years of experience serving on the City Council.

    In contrast, we have a noteworthy political activist and author with an international following (Solomon), an experienced NRDC lawyer who has been serving us in the Assembly (Huffman), and a current Marin Supervisor with strong credentials in the health sector (Susan Adams).

    Fortunately, desire and ego doesn’t equal electability. I just hope she holds her promise and doesn’t run for council again.

  32. Confused says:

    While there’s a lot to say that is strange about this, the first thing I find confusing is the following:

    ““If redistricting includes the North Bay communities I’ve been working for these past 20 years, then I intend to carry on my fight for those communities. ” – Tiffany Renee

    So she’s now 39. 20 years ago she would have been 19. How has she been fighting for us? In what capacity? She’s only been on the Council since 2008. I think the press should ask about this. Just exactly how has she been fighting for us in Petaluma since she was 19.