About Julia

Julia believes in making the world a better place. And she backs up that belief with action. A lifetime of work in the nonprofit sector has given Julia both the skills and the knowledge to improve her community – professionally and as a community volunteer. Julia also believes in giving back and serves currently as an elected Senator in the Nevada State Legislature and formerly served eight years on the Sparks City Council.

A large portion of her professional career has been dedicated to making sure that all kids have the opportunity to thrive. Most recently, Julia served as a Strategic Leadership Strategist for Girl Scouts of the USA helping strengthen Girl Scouts Councils across the nation and supporting national initiatives. This followed her stint as CEO of the Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada. Prior roles also focused on lifting up kids including her professional start at Partners in Education building community partnerships to strengthen education and time as Executive Director of the Gang Alternatives Partnership providing positive alternatives to kids who needed an opportunity.

In between she started and ran her own successful business for well over a decade, providing management solutions primarily to nonprofit and government organizations. As a small business owner, Julia understands the challenges and opportunities facing business owners. She is respected in the business community and is a graduate of the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce Leadership Reno-Sparks program and a 20 Under 40 Award winner.

As a State Senator Julia has focused on building the social safety net for all Nevadans. She championed efforts in the 2017 legislative session to make sure insurance covers critical women’s preventative health services including cancer screenings and contraception. She also led an effort to make sure every child in foster care has access to the legal representation they need to improve their education, health and quality of life.  She serves as the Chair of the Senate Revenue Committee as well as Vice Chair of the Senate Health Committee and sits on both Government Affairs and Natural Resources.

In 2008 Julia became active in local government and was elected to serve on the Sparks City Council representing Ward 1. There she focused on strengthening neighborhoods, environmental sustainability projects, reinventing the heart of the city and maintaining critical city services during the tough economic times. Her broad range of community involvement brings an important perspective to the City Council table. She was known as voice of reason and worked toward win-win solutions to tough challenges facing the City.

During her time with the City, Julia served as Chair of the Sparks Redevelopment Agency and as Vice Chair of the Washoe County Health District. She has served on the Sparks Parks and Recreation Commission, Senior Services Advisory Committee, Washoe County Oversight Committee for School Facilities, City of Sparks Master Plan Steering Committee and the Regional Transportation Commission RTP 2040 Steering Committee.

Julia is married to James Cavanaugh. In their spare time they enjoy working on their 1940s home, renovating vintage Airstream trailers and hiking and camping with their rescue dog Gus.