Estelle Fennell was elected to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors in June 2012 and took office in January 2013. Since then Estelle has worked tirelessly in service to the citizens of the Second District and the County as a whole. She was appointed Chair of the Board in 2015 and has shown true leadership in that position. She also serves as Chair of the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) and is a member of the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) and the Eel Russian River Commission (ERRC).
Estelle has been a resident of the Second District for close to 33 years. She was born in Ireland and before finding her home here on the North Coast she worked on both the east and west coasts and in Europe as a graphic and multi-media artist. At first she continued her graphic arts business, working mainly for local Humboldt county businesses.
In the late eighties she became involved with local radio and in 1990 she took on the job of news director at Redwood Community Radio station, KMUD and worked there for 17 and a half years. Over those years she developed a clear understanding of the issues that affect and concern the people of the 2nd district and the county as a whole.
Estelle has worked with people of different backgrounds, politics, worldviews and belief systems and earned their trust and respect through hard work, dependability, integrity and honesty and by supporting her community with every possible tool at her command.
As a professional who built a successful, award-winning news department from the ground up, she helped other radio stations establish their own news departments and led journalism workshops at the national level. Her in depth and even-handed coverage of forest management policy, local politics and the day-to-day workings, accomplishments and challenges of the county in general earned the respect of listeners and policy makers alike.
She served as Executive Director of the Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights (HumCPR) from 2009 to 2011. During her tenure, HumCPR’s membership grew to exceed 4,000.
Estelle also participated very actively in the Humboldt County redistricting process that followed on the 2010 census, specifically because of concerns regarding possible disenfranchisement of the rural residents of Southern Humboldt.
As an elected member of the Briceland Fire Department Board of Directors, she served as Board Treasurer and was a member of the team that spearheaded the very successful creation of the Briceland Fire District.
She also served on the boards of the Healy Senior Center and the Mainstream Media Project.
As a member of the KEET Citizen Advisory Board she spearheaded and worked on bringing TV coverage of County Meetings to outlying areas of Southern Humboldt.
Estelle is passionate about citizen empowerment and community service and believes very strongly in the power of teamwork and collaborative efforts. She also believes that strong leadership and civility are essential components of a good Supervisor’s work. There can be many challenges in her position but Estelle believes that there can be just as many rewards if one works hard toward solutions that balance the many interests of a diverse community, while embracing the responsibility to make sometimes very tough decisions.
In sum, Estelle is a person who is very comfortable in a leadership role while recognizing the value of teamwork. Her natural inclination is to help her community when and however she can and her work on behalf of the community has been recognized throughout the years.
- Honored with a resolution from the Board of Supervisors for service to the community during the 1992 Earthquakes.
- Voted Citizen of the Year by community members and the Garberville – Redway Chamber of Commerce.
- Honored with a resolution from the Board of Supervisors, for work on the Canoe and Honeydew fires.
- Responsible Media Award from the California Fire Safe Council.
- CalFire Partnership Award for work with Fire Service Agencies in Emergencies
- 2015 Fortuna Kiwanis Woman of Distinction Award for Enduring and Devoted Service to the community.