Santa Cruz, CA
Pro-Growth Progressive Idea: Creating entrepreneurship training programs to help small businesses grow in Santa Cruz
Ryan Coonerty was elected to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors in 2014. He previously served as the Mayor of Santa Cruz where he successfully brought together labor union members, social service providers, environmentalists, and local businesspeople to promote innovative strategies to improve the quality of life. Some of his efforts have received national attention, including creating an Ayuda Linea (Help Line) for day laborers to report incidents of abuse, investing the City’s reserve funds locally to spur the local economy, and authoring an ordinance that allows dense, for-sale housing which will provide affordable housing for teachers, city workers, firefighters and police.
Ryan is also the co-founder and chief strategist for NextSpace Coworking + Innovation and is implementing a new model for local and regional economic development to help citizens transition, start businesses, and live sustainably. Ryan has presented recommendations for other elected officials on how to replicate this model in communities across the country.