Tribute to Cheryl Heitmann’s many years of public service in Ventura

“I’ve been honored to have served both as Deputy Mayor and as Mayor.”

by Carol Leish

The City of Ventura and the County of Ventura have been improved with the dedicated service of Cheryl Heitmann for many years. She was involved with the Board of the Ventura County Community College District. She has also been involved on the City of Ventura City Council. This included having served as both Deputy Mayor and Mayor.

Heitmann, who has a Masters Degree in Social Work, and is a licensed Clinical Social Worker, was in private practice for 25 years. She has also worked as a probation officer, psychiatric social worker in a hospital setting, and with children in a group setting.

Besides her work as a clinical social worker, Heitmann co-owned a political consulting and fundraising group for 20 years. She also served as the executive director of the Ventura Music Festival for 7 years.

In 2002, when she heard that the Ventura County Community College District was going through challenging times, and also had no women on the board in 20 years, Heitmann realized that, ‘Getting involved on the board was something for me to consider doing since I’ve always been passionate about good pubic education. The incumbent was not running for re-election. After I got encouragement from others, along with having my own strong belief that women needed to become more involved in the political process as candidates, I decided to run.”

While serving on the Ventura City Council, Heitmann said that, ‘I’ve been honored to have served both as Deputy Mayor and as Mayor.” During her time on the City Council she has represented the city on the Economic Development Collaborative, in which she has served 4 years on the board, which included one year as the Chair. She also has served 3 years on the Gold Coast Transit District Board, in which she was the chair for her last year. She said, ‘On Council I was able to restart the Economic Development subcommittee, producing a 5-year ED strategy. I also currently serve on the school liaison committee; the homeless subcommittee; financial committee; and, the legislative committee. In addition, I currently serve on the economic development and housing committee for the National League of Cities. By serving on all of these regional and national committees, it is/has been important for the city to be able to have a seat at the table when policies are being drafted.”

“When serving as Ventura’s only third woman Mayor,” Heitmann said, “I was especially proud to have started the city’s first sister city program with Loreto, Mexico. I was also proud to have established the Ventura Council for Seniors to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our seniors which included completing a senior strategic plan. I also spearheaded the downtown Ambassador program with the support of the Downtown Ventura Partners.”

Heitmann continued by saying, “I chaired the 150th anniversary committee to plan and execute the exciting celebration of our 150 years as a city. Since, in government, many ideas and projects take several years to complete, the Veterans Home Project is especially dear to me. It will include 122 new apartments for homeless Veterans and low-income Veteran families. I brought this project forward while serving as Mayor, and it has been continuing to inch forward. Now, it is very close to putting the first shovel in the ground for the groundbreaking.”

“Serving on the city council has been an incredible experience and one that I am glad to have had. The rewards are that I have had the feeling that I have been able to contribute to bettering the quality of life in the city I love,” according to, Heitmann. “And, just as important, I’ve had the chance to meet and work with so many wonderful people, both city staff, city partners, and community members.”

Ventura would like to thank Cheryl Heitmann for her many years, since 2002, of dedicated service to the community. Ventura has become a better place from your dedicated service.

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