New Mayor Debra Garnes, center, with her fellow councilmembers

City of Rio Dell press release: 

On the evening of December 18, 2018, the Rio Dell City Council seated three members for their upcoming four‐year terms. New to the Council is Bryan Richter, a contractor and member of the Rio Dell Planning Commission. Council veteran, Julie Woodall, was sworn in after taking a four year break as a councilmember and having previously served as Mayor. Also sworn in was Debra Garnes who was first elected in 2014.


On Tuesday, January 15, 2019 Debra Garnes was elected by her fellow councilmembers to become the 16th Mayor of Rio Dell through an open ballot process. Shortly thereafter the gavel was handed over from current outgoing Mayor Frank Wilson.

Garnes, 58, is a Navy veteran who served four years as a 2nd Class Gunners Mate stationed out of Hawaii. Garnes is also a retired Hazardous Materials Specialist with the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District and owned a small business for seven years. She moved to Rio Dell in 2003 with Elizabeth, her spouse and partner of 25 years and Sidney their pup.

“I have spent the last four years pushing hard for Rio Dell to look at every real economic opportunity presented to us.” Garnes stated. In 2015 she encouraged the city to look at the changing legal landscape around cannabis as an economic opportunity. “I just don’t want to see another economic opportunity pass us by with no alternative. The best way to fund infrastructure and preserve services like police is to grow Rio Dell economically.”

Garnes plans to continue pushing for economic development, a more active and healthy community, more town‐hall style meetings and to work on improving neighborhood conditions throughout the City.