By LORI A. CARTER
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Tiffany Renee has made it official. She’s making a bid for Congress.
A Petaluma city councilwoman since 2008, Renee formally announced Tuesday that she will seek election in the 2nd Congressional District in November 2012, a seat that will be vacated by the retirement of longtime Rep. Lynn Woolsey.
Renee, 39, a Democrat, becomes the fourth candidate — the first one from Sonoma County — to announce a bid for the seat.
She joins three Marin-based Democrats — Assemblyman Jared Huffman, activist Norman Solomon and county Supervisor Susan Adams — vying to represent voters in the newly redesigned coastal congressional district.
Renee describes herself as a “progressive environmentalist, urban homesteader and locavore.”
In a statement announcing her intentions, Renee said her “experience as a problem solver and collaborator” sets her apart.
“Right now Congress is more concerned with winning small political victories than providing real solutions to our great economic, social and environmental challenges,” the statement said.
The North Coast’s two congressional districts were dramatically altered in maps approved July 29 by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission, putting Santa Rosa, Rohnert Park and Cotati in an inland district that includes Napa County. The maps are set to be finalized Aug. 15.
Most of the rest of Sonoma County, including Renee’s base in Petaluma, is in a coastal district that stretches from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Oregon border, expanding the compact Sonoma-Marin district represented by Woolsey.
Thompson, a seven-term incumbent, has not said which district he will run in next year. His redesigned district is cut off from the North Coast, which he has represented in Congress since 1999 and for eight years before that in the state Senate.
Renee starts off well behind in the pursuit of campaign funds in a race some say could cost $1 million to win.
Huffman, D-San Rafael, had raised more than $270,000 as of the June 30 reporting date, more than twice as much as Solomon. The Marin County political activist and author reported $130,597 in donations.
Adams, who announced her official candidacy in early July, reported $6,270 in donations.
Woolsey, who still had $58,695 in cash on hand at the end of 2010, has said she will not make an endorsement in the race.
Renee, the first Latina elected to the Petaluma City Council, owns her own web design company. She sits on several local and regional committees. She is married to Jaimey Walking Bear, who ran for the Petaluma school board last fall, and has two college-age daughters.
UPDATE POSTED 9/8/11
Watch a video of Tiffany Renee speaking to Mendocino County Democrats on Labor Day