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Ventura County, CA November 8, 2005 Election
Smart Voter

Mary Haffner's Biography

By Mary Haffner

Candidate for Board Member; Ventura Unified School District

This information is provided by the candidate
Mary has been an involved and engaged parent in the school community and has used her legal background to advocate for policies and statewide legislation that benefits all of California's school children.
Mary has been a Ventura resident for 14 years. She and her husband, Matthew, have three children: Gavin is 13 and attends Cabrillo Middle School, Clare is 10 and attends Loma Vista Elementary, and Henry is 3 and attends pre-school.

Mary received a B.A. in Business Economics from UCSB. She then worked in Washington D.C., as an intern to a state senator before entering Loyola Law School in 1986. In 1989, Mary received her J.D., passed the California Bar Exam and began working as a lawyer at a large national law firm in downtown Los Angeles. After moving to Ventura in 1991, Mary spent her time raising her children and volunteering in the schools.

In 1998, Mary introduced the idea of integrated pest management (IPM) to Ventura Unified and requested that they stop the use of hazardous chemicals in the school environment. As a result, VUSD adopted one of the most comprehensive IPM policies in California. VUSD's policy has received statewide recognition and awards. In 2000, Mary united the community to protect elementary school children from dangerous pesticide drift across the street from Mound Elementary School. Her actions ultimately led to statewide legislation addressing the need for stricter controls of hazardous chemicals near schools.

Two years ago, after becoming educated about the budget cuts facing Ventura Unified and the programs and services set to be eliminated, Mary helped form Save Our Schools (SOS), a group of parent and community members whose focus is to educate the community about the state of the budget and to raise local funds to save programs. To date, SOS has funded numerous grants and has helped to save programs such as Reading Safety Net and AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination).

While continuing to become more involved in the schools as an active classroom helper, volunteer Project Self Esteem teacher, and PTA/PTO member, Mary used her legal research training to help non-profit organizations and has been a speaker and workshop leader at conferences in California. Along with Assembly Member Pedro Nava, State Schools Superintendent Jack O'Connell, and County Schools Superintendent Chuck Weis, Mary was a speaker at the March 2005 rally at the Ventura Government Center, where more than 700 people gathered to demand that our legislators honor their commitment to public education.

Apart from her work as a board member of the Ventura Education Partnership, Marysits on the VUSD Integrated Pest Management Committee, the VUSD Arts Advocacy Collaborative and the VUSD Nutrition and Physical Fitness Task Force.In her spare time, Mary enjoys surfing, yoga, watercolor painting, and playing the piano. Visit Mary's Web Site:

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ca/vn Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 5, 2005 12:30
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