A large crowd of supporters, including three Elk Grove City Council members, gathered at Lola’s Lounge in Old Town on May 24 to kick off Koi Rivers’s first run for local office.

She is running for a seat on the Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) board in their November election. Two winners in that race will make decisions that will impact fire and emergency medical services for Elk Grove and Galt as well as Elk Grove’s parks and recreation system.  

“I am not a politician, I never had political aspirations,” Rivers said in her speech during her campaign’s first fundraiser. “I am a community builder; I am someone who believes in people, and lifting, encouraging, and empowering people.”

She serves on the Sacramento Theater Company board as well as the board for Transforming Lives, Cultivating Success, which is a nonprofit that provides mental health services.   

Rivers told the Citizen that she has lived in Elk Grove for nearly 15 years and she became heavily involved in her local community last year.

“I started realizing, ‘What am I doing in my community?’” she said. “I need to get more engaged here where I’m raising my children.”

Rivers met Elk Grove City Council Member Stephanie Nguyen last year when she applied to be on the city’s Multicultural Commission. Nguyen considers her to be a “hidden gem” in Elk Grove.

“I thought that she’s got so many skills that we can utilize in this city,” she told the Citizen. “She’s got so many great, refreshing ideas – she’s somebody I know I can work with.”

Rivers said if she’s elected to the CSD board she will focus on matters such as expanding the district’s firefighter career program to Galt’s high schools, and focusing on enriching the local arts scene.

“People leave for Sacramento to experience things,” Rivers said about the arts scene. “We aren’t Sacramento, we don’t need to be Sacramento; we need to carve out our own niche…we have so many great opportunities and we need to know how to leverage them.”

She mentioned her interest in bringing theatre events to the CSD’s venues.

Elk Grove City Council members Pat Hume and Vice Mayor Darren Suen joined Nguyen in their support at the kickoff party. Fellow supporter and Elk Grove City Council member Steve Detrick did not attend the event.

“Koi Rivers has community in her heart,” Suen said. “I look forward to partnering in making our parks and fire department better.”

Hume said that he’s impressed with what he’s heard from Rivers.

“She’s very passionate about her community, I think she brings a lot of experience to the table,” he said. “This seems like a logical step for her.”

Rivers is among four candidates currently running for two seats on the CSD board. Incumbent Rod Brewer is seeking a third term, while fellow incumbent Rich Lozano is instead running for the Galt City Council. Along with Rivers, other newcomers are Jerry Braxmeyer and Jaclyn Moreno.