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"...she is someone who has a history of beating the odds." –The Sheet
"Jaeger in the Mix in District 3," The Sheet, April 2, 2022
"I am not the same old thing,” proclaimed Kody Jaeger during an interview with The Sheet conducted a few weeks back. “I can absolutely bring a voice for the underrepresented.”
Jaeger, 50, is currently employed as Assistant Tribal Administrator of the Bishop Paiute Tribe.
In this role, Ms. Jaeger helps manage multiple grants, ensuring compliance and working with federal and state entities. In short, she is experienced in navigating bureaucracies and achieving results.
Prior to this job, Jaeger served as Human Resources Director for the Owens Valley Career Development Center.
She is running in a crowded District 3 field against Todd Vogel, Scott Marcellin and David Lent, a last-minute entry whom we will profile next week.
But as Jeager says, she is someone who has a history of beating the odds.
She was the first in her family to get a four-year college degree, graduating from Cal-State Long Beach. She majored in Criminal Justice.
She worked her way through college, simultaneously holding down two jobs. She says that at the time, the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) only funded vocational ed. programs, not higher education.
She said she returned home after many years in Southern California to take care of her mother, who is a Bishop Paiute. Her father is a member of the Quechan Tribe of Fort Yuma.
She says that District 3, which is comprised of approximately one-third Native population, is unique in that there’s a wide demographic split between the neighborhoods surrounding Manor Market versus the neighborhoods south of Barlow, but it is her goal to focus on the issues which affect everyone.
“Do we have career-making opportunities?” she asks. “Have we created incentives for young people to stay and make a life here?”
And affordable housing is as much of a theme on the reservation as it is everywhere. “The reservation is growing,” says Jaeger. “There’s a huge housing shortage. People need somewhere to go. LADWP [Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power] needs to look at letting land go.”
She’s not in favor of full-blown development, but clearly, something has to happen soon.
“I grew up respecting and appreciating the beauty of our valley and with an awareness of its fragility. I believe we can have a balance between building a strong economy around tourism and also ensure that these same areas are preserved and protected for future generations.”
One of the issues she sees is a disconnect between the Tribe and City/County regarding services - a disconnect which could be alleviated with better engagement. “Most people only go to one location [for help] and don’t know what’s available overall.”
In regard to the recent brouhaha at the Supervisor level regarding an attempted edit of a proclamation celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day, Jaeger observed, “The only bright side (I’m an optimist) was seeing all the people who came out to express their disappointment [in the proposed changes] and support the original proclamation.”
“What bothered me the most about the meeting,” she added, “was the silence of the other Supervisors outside of Jeff Griffiths.”
Jaeger describes herself as middleleft politically, even though she understands the Supervisor position is non-partisan.
“This is the time for a Native American woman,” she says. “I’m qualified and have the training and leadership for the job.”