24-year-old lifetime resident pledges to make wildfire prevention a top priority
It’s not every day you see a 24-year-old put their name into the hat for a seat on the Laguna Beach City Council. Or any council for that matter. But that’s exactly what Dartmouth College graduate and a lifetime resident of Laguna Beach Alex Rounaghi is doing in the build-up to the upcoming election – where three empty council seats are up for grabs in November.
Growing up, Rounaghi attended Ms. Heidi’s Pre-School, El Morro Elementary School, Thurston Middle School, and Laguna Beach High School) before heading east to study Government, History, and Public Policy at Dartmouth College. His family has lived in Laguna for three generations after his grandfather, an artist, settled here to pursue the profession.
“Regardless of age, I hope that voters choose the candidates who they believe will be the most effective Council Member,” Rounaghi said. “I’m running because I have the ideas, passion, deep Laguna roots, and experience to deliver results for Laguna Beach. What Laguna needs is someone who knows and loves this town, can listen to and collaborate with a broad range of constituents and has the policy expertise and pragmatism to get things done.”
Rounaghi said he’s had a passion for public service from a young age. He served on the Laguna Beach Parking, Traffic, and Circulation Committee, Orange County Juvenile Justice Commission, and as a United States Senate Page while still in high school. In 2015, he was Junior Citizen of the Year at the 2015 Patriot’s Day Parade.
After college, Rounaghi came back to Laguna and was appointed to the Laguna Beach Housing & Human Services Committee in 2021 and is now the chair of the committee. The city council candidate is also a policy advisor to Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley.
“I’ve gained a county-wide perspective and experience navigating bureaucracy to get things done as policy advisor for Katrina Foley,” Rounaghi said. “I’ve advanced initiatives like an innovative Fly Friendly program to reduce noise and pollution from John Wayne Airport, cracked down on illegal sober living home operators, and conducted oversight over the County’s $8 plus billion dollar budget.”
As a Council Member Rounaghi said one of his top priorities is undergrounding the utilities along Laguna Canyon Road to help avoid future fires in the area.
“Wildfires pose an existential threat to Laguna Beach,” Rounaghi said. “Two significant fires this year affirm the need to strategically leverage all city, county, state, and federal resources to mitigate this threat. No issue is more important, and I strongly support the work done by Mayor Kempf and Mayor Pro Tem Whalen to develop the 2019 Fire Mitigation Plan.”
So far, endorsements for Rounaghi have come from Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley, Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf, Laguna Beach Mayor Pro Tem Bob Whalen, former Police Chief Dave Snowden, Laguna Beach Democratic Club, OC League of Conservation Voters, and, most recently, the Laguna Beach Police Employees Association.
Those interested can find out more about Rounaghi by visiting www.rounaghiforcouncil.com.
Rounaghi will take part in the next Sept. 15 City Council candidate forum, held at City Hall from 6 to 9 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce in association with the Laguna Board of Realtors and KXFM Radio. If unable to attend in person, the panel will be aired on Cox Channel 852 or via Zoom. The Zoom link can be found on lagunabeachchamber.org under “events.”View Our User Comment Policy