Mardi Wormhoudt

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Mardi Wormhoudt

Mardi Wormhoudt (1937-2009) was a socialist politician in Santa Cruz, California. Her husband, landscape architect Ken Wormhoudt, died in 1997.[1]

Early life

Born Mardi Rolfs in Wisconsin, Wormhoudt came to Santa Cruz in the mid-1970s, having moved with her husband Ken and her children from Southern California, where she served as a social worker during the late 1960s. She had been active in the civil rights and anti-war movements of the time.[2]


Mardi Wormhoudt graduated with High Honors in Philosophy from California State University at Los Angeles, June 1967.[3]


  • 1967 to 1969, Case Worker, Los Angeles Department of Social Services.
  • 1971 to 1973, Project Director, Martin Luther King Center, Pasadena California; developed and managed programs in the areas of education and housing advocacy for low income people.
  • 1973 to 1981, Small business owner in Pasadena and Santa Cruz, California; provided consulting services to architects and interior designers and full service projects for business and residential clients.
  • November 1981 to November 1990, City Council Member, City of Santa Cruz. Three time Mayor, 1984-85, 1988-89, 1989-90.
  • February 1992 to February 1993, Director of the Solidarity Committee, Santa Cruz Central Labor Council and Monterey/Santa Cruz Building Trades Council; responsible for initiating economic development projects and developing legislative strategies to benefit organized labor.
  • March 1992 to December 1994, President and Chief Executive Officer, Santa Cruz Community Credit Union; responsible for 19 million dollar financial institution with 6,300 members and 30 employees.
  • January 1995 to late 2000s, Santa Cruz County Supervisor, Third District. Chair - 1997[4]

Santa Cruz politics

Progressives came up with two ideal candidates to add to the two New American Movement members, Mike Rotkin and Bruce Van Allen - Mardi Wormhoudt and John Laird. Mardi Wormhoudt, was an activist in the downtown neighbors group, a member of local feminist groups, and a participant in efforts to bring a publicly financed health care facility to the west side of Santa Cruz. She would go on to be a major figure in Santa Cruz politics for the next 25 years, retiring as chair of the county board of supervisors in 2006.[5]

Wormhoudt and John Laird were both members of the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee[6].

Remembering Hugh DeLacy

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On September 6 1986 a memorial for Hugh DeLacy was held at the Louden Nelson Center, Santa Cruz, California.

Mardi Wormhoudt was the presenter, speakers included Margaret DeLacy, Jack Berman, Hon. Leon Panetta, John McTernan, Gary Patton, songs by Mike Rotkin, readings by Leon Papernow and Linda Bergholdt, a letter from Greta Davis and songs by Steve Turner and Terry Turner[7].

Radical travelling

Mardi Wormhoudt was delegate, Let Nicaragua Live Tour for the Coalition for Nicaragua, 1986.

She was also a delegate, Sister City Delegation to Alushta, USSR, 1987[8].