Supervisor Montgomery vows to serve

Serene Lakes businesswoman takes seat as 5th District rep
By: Gus Thomson Journal Staff Writer
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The applause was long and loud as many audience members reacted to new Placer County Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery’s ceremonial swearing-in Tuesday in Auburn. Montgomery, 47, took her seat for the first time at the Board of Supervisors chambers. The Serene Lakes resident and newcomer to elected office defeated incumbent supervisor Bruce Kranz in November following a sometimes-tempestuous election campaign. Flanked by Supervisors Kirk Uhler and Jim Holmes, who were both not challenged in their bids to return to office, Montgomery was sworn in by County Clerk Jim Mc-Cauley. The completion of the brief, ceremonial oath of office – Montgomery had been sworn in officially eight days earlier – touched off loud, sustained hand clapping and several “whoops” throughout a packed chambers. About 120 people jammed into the room, many standing on the side. As the applause continued and the board members posed for pictures with their certificates, Montgomery looked into a crowd that included her husband, Dan Gomez, relatives who had traveled from the Bay Area, and supporters from District 5 communities ranging from Foresthill to Meadow Vista to Tahoe Vista – and pumped her fist in triumph, pointing to the framed certificate. With a five-minute break to clear the chambers after the ceremony, Montgomery walked outside into a throng of supporters and posed for a picture with about 20 people, many of whom had made the journey from the Tahoe area. Then she excused herself with the words “Gotta go” and rushed back inside to her first meeting as District 5 supervisor. “It was a little overwhelming,” Montgomery said after the meeting. “And it was gratifying.” Montgomery added that the thunderous applause was not just for her, but for all three supervisors being sworn in. “I was very touched – it was for all of us,” she said. Supporters from the election like Theresa May Duggan, a 32-year Tahoe Vista resident, were enthused by Montgomery’s presence on the board after a lengthy election campaign. “I’m thrilled,” Duggan said. “Elections have consequences and it’s good the consequences are positive. She’s honest, straightforward, hard-working – we’re so lucky.” “I think she’s a breath of fresh air,” Tahoe City’s Vicki Kahn said. The campaign was a long one, with Montgomery starting fundraising in late 2007, before polling more votes than Kranz in the June primary and then winning the support of third-place finisher Bob Houston of Meadow Vista. Houston’s endorsement gave Montgomery a clear advantage over Kranz, which she didn’t relinquish through a run-off election that saw her win with 54.8 percent of the vote to 45 percent for Kranz. During the campaign, Montgomery stressed skills in working with residents and listening to their concerns while criticizing Kranz for taking campaign donations from developers who lived outside the district. She’s a small business owner and 20-year Donner Summit resident. Montgomery said that she has felt comfortable during her first week in office. Tuesday’s meeting steered clear of controversial decisions by the board. During a lunch session, Montgomery was named to several committees, including the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency governing board and the Sierra Nevada Conservancy board, as well as several other posts Kranz had held. “I haven’t had any big surprises because I’ve been attending meetings and meeting with constituents for almost the last year,” Montgomery said. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at