Poway Mayor Steve Vaus reflects on his leadership after the synagogue shooting
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Unless you’ve lived in Poway, you mght not have recognized the name, Steve Vaus. Yet with the deadly synagogue shooting last week, the mayor of Poway is suddenly commanding a larger and more public profile. KUSI sat down with Vaus, to ask him about finding himself in the national and international spotlight.
In the hours after the April 27 attack, Vaus faced the news cameras and uttered a phrase that would become a declaration to the world; “This is not Poway.” Now, more than a week later, Vaus has had time to reflect on his role as a leader, at a time when his city was never in greater need of one. “It just gives you perspective on what really matters in life; being there for one another, being there for your neighbors, that’s job one,” Vaus said.
In multiple prayer vigils and at the memorial service for Lori Kaye, the woman who was killed, Vaus would soothe and comfort others. His job as mayor would bring him closer than he ever imagined to the same work as his father and his father’s father, in their work as ministers. “I felt that family faith playing out – it came naturally,” Vaus said. \
Praised for his leadership and his outreach to the community, Vaus remains modest about his actions. In his trademark cowboy hat and Western boots, he is hard to characterize as a typical politician. He is a Grammy award winning musician. He also chairs the board of SANDAG, the regional agency that produces detailed policies on long range planning and transportation.projects.
In all of these endeavors, Vaus said it’s the person-to- person interactions that bring him the most satisfaction. Unlike some people who enter politics for the public recognition, Vaus said his calling has always been rooted in the concept of service. “We’re elected to be public servants. I love to focus on the servant part,” he said.
Vaus, who has been the mayor of Poway since 2014 is a candidate for the County Supervisor seat being vacated by Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who is termed out in 2020.