For two decades, not only has she been involved in economic development but has been at the helm of nonprofits, active in community media, arts, culture, heritage and agricultural pursuits. At the core of this activity is the belief that economic and community development should be built around our local assets and our local people.
Throughout her career, Debra has learned to collaborate with unlikely partners (Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and nearly anyone truly interested in solving issues) to identify the problems and needs of a community. She's learned how to achieve a working consensus on goals and priorities and how to fund them.
For the past 20+ years, Debra has been involved in economic development in Butte County. Five of those years, she served as CEO of Butte County Economic Development Corporation. As a consultant to the County of Butte, Debra worked to recruit agricultural interests, industry and business to our region. She worked diligently to enhance the working environment for business and directed Butte County Cultural Tourism for 10+ years.
Earlier in her career, she worked for an international furniture trade association for five years, had a leadership position in a $5 million family business for two years, was a journalist for eight years; and now has 20+ years of consulting experience to business, government and nonprofits.
Our cities and county face similar challenges. We need leaders who are energetic problem solvers who will seek common ground with political colleagues. We need more collaboration to serve the people of Butte County in effective and fiscally responsible ways.
Debra is passionate about community and making Butte County a place where we feel safe, inclusive, opportunities abound, and our farm land is protected. Education and career training is top of mind, particularly since the pandemic, plus economic development utilizing local assets. These are her passions.
She was born at Enloe Hospital in Chico, raised in Corning, attended Shasta College and graduated from CSU, Chico, with a Bachelor's in Communications. Her mother and grandmother were born in Oroville. She has deep Butte County roots - going back to 1850s when her great, great, great grandfather, Phillip Klos settled in Mountain Spring and then moved to Enterprise where her great, great grandmother Lena Klof (Klos) was born in 1863. And to 1898 on her great grandfather's side. He is described in George Mansfield's History of Butte County, California, as "A worthy descendant of a 'forty-niner,' and himself the father of an enterprising and energetic family, is Thomas J. Lucas, of Bidwell’s Bar. Thomas J. Lucas married Miss Lena Klof, born at Enterprise, Butte County, the daughter of Philip Klof, the pioneer hotel- and store-keeper at Enterprise." It goes on to describe Thomas J. Lucas as an excellent butcher and rancher and " ... active in any movement for the development of the county; and to this development Mr. Lucas has contributed in a considerable measure by his untiring research work and experimentation."
Her father was the first person in his family to attend college. He became a teacher, a volunteer firefighter, a grand jury member, and an advocate for girls sports at the school board level and for teachers at the state level. He was also an unofficial spokesperson for the hundreds of migrant farm workers who passed through Corning as they picked olives. It was his activism that inspired Debra to become an advocate and community organizer.
Debra raised her three children in Chico. She is married to Raymond Laager who is a long-time member a local business group and underwriting director for a local radio station and community newspaper.
Her eight plus years as an award-winning journalist and editor, as well as a "tour of duty" in Washington, D.C. as an information specialist for an Hispanic lobbyist group, seasoned her in government relations and negotiations. Her extensive grant writing background has enabled her to augment educational programs, festivals and events throughout her career. She has long worked with college-age adults, developing specialized internship programs in public relations, marketing, video and television production, as well as event and festival production.
In addition to several other boards, she sat on the Shasta-Cascade Wonderland Board of Directors - representing eight Northern California counties - for more than a decade. Currently, she sits on one national board (NACo - National Association of Counties) where she is the Chair of the Resilient Counties Advisory Committee, Vice Chair for the Arts and Culture Commission, Vice Chair of the Rural Action Caucus; and Vice Chair of the Environment, Energy and Land use Steering Committee; four state boards - CA State Association of Counties Latino Caucus of California Counties where she is the Vice President; California Arts Advocates, Californians for the Arts and is a past board member on the Western Region of the Alliance for Community Media - representing Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico.
She would be proud to represent Butte County as an elected official. "I've been doing it unofficially for years!" Thank you for your support.
Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, MA
(February 4, 2021)
January 2021- January 2023
Butte County Supervisor Debra Lucero of Chico has been elected for a two-year term as vice president of the Latino Caucus of California Counties, an affiliate of the California State Association of Counties.Lucero, who has served on the Caucus since 2018 joins Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez who was elected president last week.
When our staff sat down to share nominees for 2020, we ended up with what is probably a first for this newspaper: an all-women Whom to Watch list ... They all share a deep connection to Butte County, but each has a different vision about how to contribute to and shape the future of our region.
Arts & Entertainment Award, Chico Economic Planning Corporation (2008)
Best Cooperative Marketing Campaign (Judge’s Choice) California Travel & Tourism Commission (CTTC 2008)
Seven Gold Awards for Butte County’s California State Fair exhibits in Sacramento in 2012, 2010 (also awarded Best Design & Best Content); 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2003 – (seven of only eight Gold Medals earned since 1984).
Chico News & Review -- “Chico’s Best Ambassador” (2006)
“Who to Watch Newsmaker” for arts & tourism by the Chico News & Review (2004 & 2015)
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