Pleasanton Vice Mayor Kathy Narum has decided not to run for the open mayor's seat this November because of COVID-19 impacts on her "day job," managing her family's commercial property business in Iowa.
Narum, who is in the middle of her second full term on the City Council, had deeply contemplated a run for mayor and begun some initial campaigning earlier this year, but she said the pandemic forced her to reconsider.
"Faced with the realization that I'm not going to be able to commit adequate time to campaign, I have made the difficult decision to not run for mayor this year. It simply isn't the right time for me," Narum said.
"However, I do want residents to know that I still have two years plus left on my City Council term. I will continue to be fully engaged during those years working to advance policies that ensure the health and well-being of our community so that Pleasanton continues to be a special place to call home," she added.
The mayor's seat will be fully up for grabs on the Nov. 3 ballot with incumbent Mayor Jerry Thorne ineligible to run again because of the city's term limit law.
Sitting City Council members Karla Brown and Jerry Pentin, who are terming out of regular council seats this fall, each publicly announced their campaigns for mayor last week, becoming the first candidates to enter the mayor race. Four candidates have also launched bids to compete for the two regular council seats being vacated by Pentin and Brown.
Narum had been poised to put her name on the ballot for mayor this fall too, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed that plan.
"I manage my family’s commercial property business in Iowa as my 'day job.' The restrictions placed on commercial businesses, as well as the restrictions on property owners due to the virus have made my job very challenging where I am spending far more time on it than ever before," she said.
"I had anticipated that after a month or so, time requirements would return to more normal levels. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and I now realize that certain aspects of our business are going to continue to require increasing time commitments for several months," Narum added.
Narum said she is still strictly prioritizing her City Council duties during this time, and for the remaining 2-1/2 years on her final term (due to term limits).
"These include health and safety especially in light of Covid-19, strengthening our economy both for residents and businesses and continued collaboration with our school district," she said. "I look forward to being able to have coffee and conversation with residents again to discuss ideas/issues to make Pleasanton an even better place to live."
As part of announcing her withdrawal from mayor consideration in 2020, Narum also publicly endorsed Pentin's campaign.