Renée Runs With Heart

Having grown up on both sides of the tracks, Tiffany Renée knows how to relate to just about everyone. Will that be enough to overcome her shortcomings?

With apologies to the other candidates, if is the cerebrum of the race to represent the North Bay in Congress, is its political legs and is its social-network conscience. That makes Tiffany Renée - accent on the first “é,” thank you very much - the campaign’s heart.

Having left home at 16, Renée put herself through college and was a two-time teenage parent by the time she was 19.

But there's plenty more to her story. Renée descends from a prominent and politically active Sacramento family. Her father, Bill Withrow, was a developer who served as three-term honorary Mayor of the town of Fair Oaks, as well as founding the American River Bank, a NASDAQ-listed community financial institution with six branches throughout greater Sacramento.

With her feet on both sides of the proverbial tracks, Renée says she believes she can take her place as one of Sonoma County’s political stars.

Renée sits on the Petaluma City Council, and her list of boards and commissions includes the Golden Gate Bridge District, the Association of Bay Area Governments' Executive Board and the Sonoma County Commission, among others. At 40 years old, Renee has generally been the youngest member of these various boards and is part of a new generation taking its place at the California political power table.

For Renée, experience has always been the great instructor. Taking care of her aging grandparents, for example, lead her to support “Aging in Place” legislation that enables the elderly to avoid being forced out of their homes into rest homes. She also sees herself as a feminist protégé of Barbara Boxer, Lynn Woolsey and other California women who came of political age in 1992, “California’s Year of the Woman,” as well as in 1995, the 75th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. Being involved in women’s issues has also helped make Renée a voice in the feminist movement in Sonoma County for protecting women against domestic violence.

She also touts her environmental background and green voting record as a plus. She also hopes to keep the North Bay "counties connected and sharing hard-to-come-by resources.” She views Sonoma County as the heart of various environmental causes, including “transit, limiting greenhouse gas emissions, issues of clean energy and more efficient housing.” 

Renée calls herself “the Sonoma County candidate for Congress,” with her natural electoral base in Petaluma, the largest city in the 6th Congressional District. She hopes Sonoma County can help her overcome the strong fundraising abilities of her opponents.

Renée touts her ability “to build community and embrace diversity,” for which she draws on her multi-cultural background that includes Chilean, Guatemalan and French-Canadian blood. Renée feels she can make up the deficit in money and organization with what she calls, “my ability to engage and communicate with people of different backgrounds.”

That ability to engage is not quite yet foolproof. At a 2010 City Council debate involving the possible docking of a decommissioned World War II gunboat lovingly called the “Mighty Midget” on Petaluma's water-front, Renée showed a little less geo-political understanding than she might have hoped.

Renée angered veterans and startled listeners with a warning that the presence of what was one of the U.S. Navy’s smallest but most potent warships might provoke an angry response by a rogue state like North Korea, which could target the North Bay.

Renée's a quick learner, so expect her to dig in, bone up on her 20th Century history and not make that same kind of mistake twice.

She appears tenecious enough to do so. After losing a race for the Petaluma City Council in 2006, she spent the following several years “attending every council meeting except for one.” If she finishes out of the money in the race for Lynn Woolsey’s Congressional seat - a likely scenario - look for her to chalk it up to experience, and as she suggests, “prepare me better for the next time.” Count on it.

Thomas September 08, 2011 at 11:40 PM
Since Richard here won't do it, I checked out Renée's website "on the issues" about the economy, as EVERYONE should be doing for anyone we consider running for a National office seat, like Congress. Let me just say it was one of the weakest little write ups on the economy that pushed typical too-left class-ism about "shovel ready" government jobs for unions. Great Renée,, how about the other 90% of people in our economy that work for or run business in this country? Yeah, it's the typical party-line talk without real answers about our serious current problems that must be addressed to foster private industry JOBS and a massive problem of Trillion dollar debt while running Trillion dollar deficit spending which our Congress is simply not able to honestly address, since it seems they only know how to spend - like it seems Renée is just like. Oh, yeah $500M tax payer money to Solyndra for "green jobs" all evaporated. Yeah, great. That is real thinking there...
Marie September 09, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Thomas, Thank you for your post! All citizens should be concerned with the unsustainable spending in our government and no citizen should EVER even consider voting for any politician who cannot properly prioritize the economy. Politicians must learn to recognize "A" level (most important) items from "C" level (nice-to-have) items. The citizens must learn to recognize the realities of our situation and have the self-discipline to do without c-level items until we are back on our feet and can afford them.
Never Going To Happen September 09, 2011 at 05:13 PM
Tiffany is scary. Beneath her demure facade lurks a deluded psychopathic power addict who is not only ill prepared but frighteningly self assured (ignorance compounded by arrogance). She has yet to explain her bizarre ramblings about the threat to Petaluma from North Korea because there's nothing to explain. She's either incredibly stupid, crazy, or both. Anyone who studied defense policy simply by keeping up with the news would realize how absurd the point she made was. And no amount of photo ops with veterans changes this. She can't seriously think she has a chance so I suspect it's simply her way to appear relevant as she plots her next office run – most likely, retreating back to another run for City Council....this time...drum roll please...as a failed Congressional Candidate! The question though is whether she can even be reelected to City Council. I suspect she will finish dead last in the primaries and anyone considering a vote for her should think very carefully about throwing a good progressive vote to such a poor candidate. Far better throwing your support behind Solomon who actually has a chance and is far more experienced on issues of foreign policy and defense. Should she split the progressive vote, we'll end up with a run-off where we'll get to choose between the less progressive Huffman and perhaps a Republican since there is only one running at the moment who could conceivably get every GOP vote.
eryn September 09, 2011 at 06:40 PM
I'm from Petaluma, and all I'm going to say is, she managed to get swept into office on the coat tails of other well-known Dems in the area during the 2008 election while the country (ok, our county) wanted nothing more to do with the Republican party. She had the backing of the party based on her progressive politics, but I gotta say, she's got NO charimsa. She is also painful to listen to at City Council meetings, and some of the things that come out of her mouth are borderline embarrassing (and naive to the planning process - it shouldn't always be politcal). Just because you're well meaning, and have a good heart, does not mean you're cut out for state or national politics. Also, it's not like she's really made a name for herself, or done anything substantial in the last three years she's held office, why should I elect her to fill Woosley's seat? Woosley was a bad ass and got things done, I don't see Renee in the same way.
Paul Andersen September 09, 2011 at 08:59 PM
You forgot to mention there is another candidate for the seat: Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams. You even wrote a story on her candidacy!


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