Oroville, Calif. - "Not a day goes by when I don't have constituents posting pictures, saying, 'Janet Goodson Vice Mayor, what can we do about this? And I understand, because this is the community where I live."
Vice Mayor Janet Goodson is showing me around one of her latest endeavors - cleaning up an abandoned home.
"I had a post where it said, 'please do something about this property, the children when they get out of school, they're walking through this property - you can see, there are nails standing straight up'," Goodson explained.
Goodson says her position on Oroville's City Council helps her to help her community.
She was able to get Code Enforcement and trash-hauler Recology to take part in the clean-up of many abandoned sites.
But it's a problem that's all too common in Oroville, especially on the South side.
"We just continue to move forward and do it one step at a time," Goodson said to a neighbor she ran into near one of her latest projects. "This is just what I do. And we're getting it done."
The man on the bike nods, and says "God bless you".
Goodson wasn't always so community focused, though. Last week, Action News Now discovered the mayoral candidate was arrested several times in the 80s.
"I made some pretty bad decision in my life, and I also was influenced by associates that were not looking out for my best interest," Goodson said."That was a dark period in my life."
She continues to explain how difficult it was for her to deal with the charges against her.
"It is not kind, not friendly, to a young woman in her 20s trying to navigate in a system she knew absolutely nothing about," Goodson said.
But Goodson finally had enough. She said the "3 F's" helped her turn her life around.
"Family, friends and faith, catapulted me back into making positive and appropriate choices," Goodson said.
And why did she keep her past in the past?
"There was never a need to share my struggles, but I think that now people are able to fully understand, that 'I do know what you're going through'," Goodson said.
Now she draws on those dark experiences to help others. She's a behavioral health counselor for at-risk youth. She's worked at the Department of Justice, the Department of Corrections, and now is Vice Mayor in the City of Oroville.
"This is just who I am, it's not something I take on and off two times a month when I'm on city council, this is what I do - I do community," Goodson said.
We also reached out to Goodson's opponent in the mayor's race, Chuck Reynolds.
Reynolds is a local businessman who was sentenced in 1996 after pleading guilty to felony drug possession in Butte County.
He declined to go on camera but did send us a statement.
"I am not proud of some of the things I did in my youth and I assume my opponent is not either," he said. "I am proud to be a family man of faith. I am proud of the overwhelming support I have received from our community."
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