Julie Raia is running for Morgan Hill City Council District A in order to bring “some fresh perspective” to the city’s government.
“There is a lot going on in Morgan Hill,” said Raia, who is a licensed marriage and family therapist. “We have seen a lot of growth and major construction. There are all kinds of things in the budget that include significant growth, projects and initiatives, and I’m worried about infrastructure and how we’re going to pay for all this.”
She continued in a recent interview, “I want to make sure that the city is safe, and do everything to ensure safety and security are first and foremost.”
Raia has lived in Morgan Hill since 2006. Her 15-year-old daughter attends Sobrato High School. She has worked as a therapist and counselor—for youth and juveniles—in numerous Central Coast communities throughout her career, which includes 10 years at the William F. James Ranch in Morgan Hill.
She said homelessness is a growing issue that needs more local attention. She wants to bring more behavioral health services, such as a mobile crisis unit to Morgan Hill. More access to healthcare, housing assistance, food banks, sober living environments and nonprofit services are on her list of needs for the homeless as well.
While Raia doesn’t agree with recent “defund the police” movements, she would like to see mental health professionals working more closely with MHPD. As such a professional herself, Raia has worked with police many times on calls involving mental health disturbances.
“I propose we enmesh clinical staff and substance abuse counselors and social workers into the police department to support them,” Raia said.
She added that her background as a therapist gives her a unique understanding of how to “collaborate and compromise” in order to accomplish objectives on a body like the city council.
When it comes to the Covid-19 pandemic, Raia said the city is “going to have to get creative (but) consider safety first and foremost” in dealing with the impact on the city’s revenues.
In the long-term, the city will eventually again have to address residential and commercial growth, Raia said. She would like to see new businesses—especially larger commercial projects—“pay their fair share.” If elected to the council, she would urge City Hall to consider ideas to control some of the growth and let the public infrastructure catch up.
“I think we need to keep some land as just land, and salvage what we can and protect the natural environment; (the growth) needs to be tempered with the reality that this is a bedroom community,” Raia said.
Raia added that, if elected, she won’t be beholden to any special interests.
“The one thing I will promise is that I will always be honest to people. That is important to me and should be important to others,” Raia said.