Hi my name is Lani Faulkner and I’ve led a creative, disciplined, and adventurous personal and professional life. I studied bel canto for decades singing and performing in choirs, operas, and ensembles in the US and abroad, with well-known musicians including Paul Hillier, Stephanie Friedman, Daniel Stewart, and others. I even sang for Coretta King! Professionally, I began teaching systemic and cellular physiology as a graduate student at UCDavis. In between blood draws taken from sturgeon and high sensitivity lab tests performed in the lab, I was performing Verdi, Mozart and Monteverdi in large auditoriums and small chamber spaces! Drinking coffee, singing Bach’s Coffee Cantata, and swimming Masters and urban farming kept me busy. I grew up on a small family farm, and growing fruit trees and food is something I do wherever I live. I graduated with a BS and MS in physiology from UCDavis.

Out of college, I worked to evaluate grants and edited publications in Environmental Education for the State Department of Education and taught biology, physiology, nutrition and biotech as an associate community college professor. I stopped teaching when I had my son to avoid driving throughout the Bay Area. I worked in the computer industry for over five years which gave me the opportunity to work from home as a new mom.

When my son entered school, I worked in the pharma and device industry, running clinical trials nationally and internationally. This entailed cross departmental, cross agency, and cross institutional collaborative efforts such negotiating contracts between legal entities, managing iterative regulatory and quality assurance processes, following safety protocols, partnering with medical professionals, statistical analysts and health care compliance officials, as well as managing budgetary considerations. Outside of work, I continued to perform with local groups like the Bayshore Lyric Opera Company in Capitola, the Mountain Community Theater, and Duets on Broadway as well the Cabrillo College Concert Choir under Cheryl Anderson.

Volunteering has played an important part of my life and has allowed me to stay connected with my son. I volunteered for five years with his musical theater group, Little People’s Repertory Theater. When my son was in middle school, he chose mountain biking as his physical activity. This sparked my own love for mountain biking combined with my love of working with youth and I went on to coach middle and high school mountain biking at Kirby School for 7 years! We took kids out 3 days a week, including on weekends, into the mountains and to the beach. It changed kids’ lives! In 2007, I obtained my Wilderness First Responder certification, which I must recertify every 2-3 years to stay active. As a wilderness backpacker and mountain biking coach, taking kids out in the wilderness, I wanted to be prepared.

Several of my immediate family members were hit with cancer, including my husband, sister, and mom and for a time, I took a long break from work to live with and support my mom through cancer and hospice. I left the biotech industry in 2015 to step away from hours of long daily commutes and enjoyed focusing on coaching, volunteering at my son’s school, and contributing to the community in other ways. I continued to perform music and I was a competitive triathlete and marathoner with the Santa Cruz Triathlete Association. I worked briefly at a local telecom company and when they relocated to where I could no longer bike to work, I decided to switch gears and pursue an AA degree in therapeutic massage so I could work directly with people.

In recent years, with my son off to college, I focused my energy and work volunteering locally. It has been exciting to join forces with the Santa Cruz County Friends of the Rail and Trail (FORT) and be able to defeat Measure D. My underlying passion for protecting the environment and fighting for equity was met in founding Equity Transit. I was honored to be asked to join the Executive Committee of the Sierra Club. In 2016, our country became a tool for Russian, Chinese, and internal oligarchic anti-democratic influences. I became a fan of Bernie Sanders. I realized if I wanted to make a change in our government, I had to be a part of that change from the inside. This motivated me to get involved locally. Through my work with FORT, I learned about our local democratic clubs, and I joined the Women’s Democratic Club and became an alternate with the Democratic Central Committee. I began participating in state legislative work with AB1919, free transit for youth, and SB252, divestment from fossil fuel in public retirement plans. I am also a delegate to the California State Democratic Convention this year, which I am very excited about. There is so much to do and learn that I must remember this is a marathon and not a sprint.

My work with FORT, fighting MeasureD-2022, and working with people in our community, prompted my awareness that our current supervisor has been actively working to undermine equity and the environment and programs important to our most vulnerable. He has not been supportive of foundational community projects important to current and future generations. This had me step-up and run for Supervisor.