Harmony Groves Arcata, CA
Harmony Groves is a modern day renaissance woman. She's a regular at the annual Burning Man gathering, has completed Humboldt's grueling 41-mile Kinetic Grand Championship Race solo, is a fluent French speaker and served as mayor of Arcata.
Following graduation from Humboldt State University in 2004 with a degree in Political Science, Harmony was urged by friends to run for Arcata City Council. Her interest in local planning and transportation prompted her to take her friends' advice and she was elected to the council in November 2004.
"I never really felt like, ‘Oh, I have it in the bag,'" Harmony says of the campaign. "I just kept focusing on being an option, getting out there and reaching out to people. And I figured if I was an option that was attractive to people then they would vote for me."
As a councilmember, Harmony worked on establishing land use codes, increasing affordable housing options and promoting alternative transportation infrastructure. Her goal is to help foster a sustainable community that is respectful of the environment and the ideas espoused by its citizens. She served as Arcata's vice mayor in 2006 and was appointed mayor by her fellow councilmembers for a yearlong term in 2007.
"I did a few things on the side as mayor so people in Arcata would feel like I was approachable and would get to know me a little," Harmony says. "I performed in the Vagina Monologues, hosted a really fun snowboarding event on the plaza, and took over the Kinetic Sculpture Race with a friend when it wasn't going to continue running, and now we administer the race."
"It's hard to put your finger on, but Arcata is definitely different and there's a wide political spectrum," she says. "People are very involved in city government and decisions being made and I think that's a really positive thing."
With her term on the city council coming to an end, Harmony plans to apply to law school with the intention of studying international law.
Harmony was born in Downey, Calif. and grew up in Los Angeles County. She attended American University in Paris, France before returning to California to finish her degree at HSU. She is currently the Guests on Call Coordinator for the Arcata-based Mainstream Media Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding the discussion of various issues in the mainstream media. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for the local theatre company Dell'Arte, and enjoys cycling, yoga and gardening.