Director of Economic Development, CAO Liason, County of Humboldt
My family and I moved to Humboldt County in 2018—we were climate refugees impacted and displaced because of a wildfire that destroyed our home in Shasta County. Humboldt County not only offered a more climate-resilient home for us, but we really saw a sense of purpose and opportunity here.
We quickly got connected to the community, making friends and building relationships at work and in our neighborhood. While many people were very friendly, there were times when we felt a sense of “otherness”, as transplants to a rural county. In certain conversations about topics of local importance, I’d hear the comment “you wouldn't understand—you're not from here originally.” There certainly is a sense of bonding that happens when people share experiences over generations, so trying to lead the economic development as a transplant has sometimes felt like a weakness.
It made me realize that it's going to take a little bit more effort, and perhaps a bit more diligence and energy among some groups, to whom it's important to make my opinions seem relevant or matter. In some groups, I let the long-time local perspective lead the conversation. And in other groups, I may be the expert because I'm from out of the area.
Five years after moving here, our family continues to be deeply invested in helping bring more prosperity to everyone in our community, from those who have lived here for generations, and those who just arrived. We are so grateful we chose Humboldt.