Flagstaff is Home
I am Regina Cruz Salas, a Flagstaff resident for over 16 years and I offer my whole being once again with renewed strength and commitment to serve our beloved diverse Flagstaff community as a WRITE-IN CANDIDATE for Flagstaff City Council in the November 8,2022 General Election. My family and I moved to Flagstaff from Angeles City, Philippines on Memorial weekend of May 2006 to raise two boys.
I absolutely have a deep love for the outdoors, communing with nature, stewardship of natural resources, and community service are values we imbibed from the Philippines. My older son, Gian graduated from Flagstaff High School and was second in AIT class - Aviation Mechanic and served within the US Army. My younger son graduated from Coconino High School and is pursuing a degree in Bioscience at George Mason University in Virginia.
My first job in the United States was with the Coconino County Parks Recreation as outreach coordinator for over 7 years, then with the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce for nearly 2 years. I own and manage ConnectEdge, a consulting business helping local small businesses and nonprofits with business development, revenue development, and capacity building.
Living, Thriving, Evolving in Flagstaff
I bring a diverse perspective to every leadership role I have held. My extensive background and experience in public governance from two countries (Philippines and USA), business sector, academia, and nonprofits are uniquely valuable capabilities in terms of community and economic development, policy research, analysis and advocacy, legislative development, budgeting, fiscal management, resource mobilization, labor dispute mediation, fundraising and friend-raising.
I represent the City of Flagstaff on the executive boards of Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona (ECONA), Metroplan Greater Flagstaff, and Rural Transportation Advocacy Council (RTAC) for which I’ve been recently elected Vice-Chair. I’m also City Council’s liaison to the City’s Airport, Tourism and Parks and Recreation Commission.
In addition, I represent small business on the Arizona@Work Coconino Workforce Board. My volunteer work includes serving on the boards of Quality Connections, Flagstaff Leadership Program, Flagstaff Sister Cities International, and the Northern Arizona Lodging, Tourism, Restaurant Association.
My passion for community advancement is reflected on the multiple organizations and endeavors for which I have dedicated my time and resources:
Quality Connections, Flagstaff Leadership Program, Women’s Leadership Network of Northern Arizona, Northern Arizona Lodging, Tourism & Restaurant Assoc., Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce, Flagstaff Independent Business Alliance, Local First Arizona, Flagstaff Communicators, Flagstaff CVB Marketing Stakeholders, Public Relations Society of America, Superior Court interpreter
I am particularly honored to have formed, developed and organized the nonprofit Friends of Coconino County Parks supporting the County's efforts in the areas of land conservation, park development, volunteerism, and recreational activities. Its efforts were unparalleled: signature fundraisers Annual Flagstaff Wine & Food Festival (2009-2016), Homebrew Competition and Beer Tasting at the County Fair; resource mobilization and engagement of over 250 volunteers; building sustainable ramada; trail markers on County trails, "Let's Get Out in the Woods"-a series of free guided hiking educational activities to explore Coconino County parks and natural areas.
Her story from the Philippines
Through the varied roles I played and multi-faceted responsibilities I carried out in every organization for which I have been involved, I firmly believe in seeking new connections, cultivating relationships, collaboration and partnerships in pursuit of a shared purpose and a common vision. Join me in the quest to LIVE, THRIVE, EVOLVE in FLAGSTAFF as individuals, as families, as businesses, as communities, as peoples.
My career in the Philippines was dedicated to public service. It evolved from nonprofit human rights advocacy to legislative development and management, policy review and analysis as chief legislative officer for the Labor and Employment Committee Chair and also Vice-Chair of Committees on Energy, Banking, Higher Education, Trade & Industry and Rules in Philippine Congress. Additionally, I mediated labor relations disputes and organized the Joint Congressional Commission on Labor and Employment to review the Philippine Labor Code. Some notable legislation for which I was involved from research, policy framework, and bill drafting to public input, floor deliberations and final enactment into law include: Clean Air Act; Tobacco Regulation Act, that also restricts smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces; Elimination of Child Labor in Hazardous Workplace; Strengthening Vocational/Technical Education, and the Cityhood of San Fernando, the provincial capital of Pampanga.
I earned a master's degree in Industrial Relations at the University of the Philippines- School of Labor & Industrial Relations. I was also a part-time faculty at my alma mater where I received my bachelor's degree. St. Scholastica's College- Manila The same school that produced the first woman president of the Philippines, President Corazon Aquino. My public service also included radio and publication management, and public relations/communications consultant for city officials.
Social justice, resilience, self-sacrifice and service to the people were ingrained early in my consciousness. My dad, Rodolfo Salas aka "Commander Bilog" was the leader of the resistance movement (1968-1986) throughout the Philippines that ousted the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. I was in my mom's womb when she jumped off a fence carrying my older brother as she fled from a military raid. My dad was arrested, tortured for days and eventually escaped. I was raised by my aunt and her husband, whom I call Mama Gloria and Papa Boy, with support from grandmother Beatriz Salas and the entire Salas clan.
I was 13 when my parents were arrested and imprisoned for rebellion. My dad's two brothers were killed along with hundreds of martyrs during the tumultuous era of Martial law, dictatorship and oppression in Philippine history. At 13, I emerged as spokesperson for our Salas family and families of other political prisoners that sought fair trial and humane treatment of prisoners across the country. My mom, Josefina Salas was released for humanitarian reasons but was included in the charge of rebellion for which my dad plead guilty and stayed in prison for 6 years. I spent my birthdays and holidays in my teenage years with family visiting my dad and his fellow political prisoners in jail.
I was able to endure and rise up from multitude of hardship, bereavement, and heavy yoke with support and strength from family, friemily (friends who have become family), and community; and values anchored on faith, social responsibility, service, integrity and compassion.
NC State University - National Recreation & Park Association: Revenue Development & Management School
ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation: Nonprofit Development and Management
University of the Philippines - School of Labor & Industrial Relations, Master of Industrial Relations, Thesis: “Industrial Relations Transformation: Philippine Airlines’s Flight to Industrial Peace and Profitability”
Conflict Resolution Group Foundation and National Center for Mediation in the Philippines, Certification in Alternative Dispute Resolution/Mediation
St. Scholastica’s College, Manila, Philippines: Bachelor of Arts in English, Thesis: “Tolstoy’s Images of Women”, Campus Journalism Award of the Year Recipient