Tuesday night was San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon's last city council meeting. Harmon will be stepping down from her position as mayor on September 26.
Harmon says she feels grateful to have been able to accomplish what she has in her last five years as mayor of San Luis Obispo.
She's proud of the ambitious carbon neutrality goal and justice and equity initiatives created during her term.
Harmon will be filling the role of senior public affairs director for the Romero Institute's 'Let's Green California Initiative'.
The initiative is focused on climate action at the state level. Harmon says they will ask Governor Gavin Newsom to declare a state of climate emergency and work with local legislators to move legislation forward over the next few years to make California a climate leader.
"I want to see California be the leader in the world on climate action," Harmon said.
She says the most recent United Nations climate report was a literal wake-up call when her child texted her in the middle of the night alarmed by the report's findings which described the current conditions as a code red call for humanity.
"So me as a mom, you know, waking up to texts from my kid asking me, 'Mom, is this the apocalypse? Mom, do you have hope? Mom, it seems like no one is doing anything about this, what is going to happen?'" Harmon said.
She says the concern of her children was a major factor in her decision to make a swift career change.
"For the first time in my life, I could not turn to them and say everything's going to be alright because I am not sure about that," Harmon said.
Harmon says she is committed to doing everything she can to be a part of the solution to this defining issue of our time.
"I want my kid to be able to look me in the eye and know that I did everything I could. And so that's why I'm stepping down from my position as mayor since we've been able to do so much on climate and stepping up into a state-level position to do more," she said.
The deadline to apply to fill the San Luis Obispo Mayor position is Friday, September 24. In order to be eligible to apply, you must be a registered voter in the city of San Luis Obispo and be a resident for at least 30 days prior to the appointment.
On September 28, those applications will be published with the October 5 city council agenda packet. Written public comments regarding applications will be accepted from September 29 through October 4.