Boat on Petaluma River Old Petaluma Library

Mike Harris… Embracing Small Town Values

Throughout his early years, Mike lived in a collection of small towns in Northern California. His mother took on the dual role of filling the shoes of both parents. She recognized the benefits that a small town would offer in reinforcing the values that she wanted to instill in her young son; and so at six, they settled in the foothills of the Sierras. It was that same recognition that led Mike to later settle in Petaluma.

His mother’s dedication as a single parent, community leader and wage earner inspired Mike. As a young boy, and with support and encouragement from his mother, he worked in the family run restaurant. This allowed him to gain invaluable business experience. Upon completion of High School, Mike recognized that if he were to achieve his future dreams, he would need further education.

With his dreams firmly in mind, he returned to his roots. At 17, he enrolled at Sonoma State University. There he simultaneously worked and pursued his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Management (Accounting emphasis) and a Minor in Economics. He followed his mother’s lead and took an active leadership role in his community; participating in the International Business Association, Financial Association and as a founding member of a Fraternal Organization. He also served as Treasurer and President of the Fraternal Organization and served as a Leadership representative at Northwestern University on behalf of the organization.

After graduation from college, he served as Vice President of the Sonoma State Alumni Association. He helped to create endowments for scholarships to needy students. He also served on the Sonoma State Annual Distinguished Alumni Selection Committee and chaired the committee for 1 year.

Mike has taken on leadership in his community with the same enthusiasm and dedication that has been his life-long trademark. At the county level, he was appointed to & served on the Alcohol and Drug Advisory Board and also served on the Large Employer Advisory Board (a group that worked on regional housing and transportation issues). He has also served on the Executive Committee of the Petaluma Chapter of Ducks Unlimited, helping to raise nearly $50,000 for the preservation of wetlands habitat.

Mike currently works at a Petaluma based financial services company as a Senior Vice President. Over the last 26 years, he has been involved in the management and planning of the company’s growth. Currently, he works with more than 170 employees, many of whom live and raise their families in Petaluma.

Today, Mike wants to continue to serve Petaluma and after 3 successful terms on the Petaluma City Council, Mike is running for Mayor of Petaluma. He is dedicated to making city government work by restoring faith in the values held by this small town. Petaluma, similar to Mike embraces small town values: hard work and a can-do attitude. He is proud of these values that he learned long ago under his mother’s watchful eyes. They have become an integral part of his character and form the basis of the future that he envisions for his community.