Dear Fellow Community Members,

My name is Michelle Rains. I am mother, wife, small business owner, and local elected official.

When I attended Ramona High School and Montecito High School, I knew I wanted to become a chef. I worked hard and paid my way through culinary school in San Fransisco. I was able to realize my dream and purchase a local restaurant, Cheers of Ramona, which my husband and I now own and operate. It is not easy work,

but serving the community is incredibly rewarding.


As business owners, we were able to make it through the pandemic

thanks to the support of our customers and local community. But make no

mistake, the past couple years have been among the most difficult times

in our life. Adversity always makes you realize what you have to be

grateful for, and for me, it was my family and community.


I have decided to run for Palomar College Board to give back to my

community and help others find success in the same way I did. Learning

a marketable skill and having the ability to put your passion to work.


I look forward to sharing my plans for Palomar College with you in the

months to come. I would be honored to have your vote.



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About Michelle


Michelle spent most of her childhood in San Diego County attending Ramona High School and graduating from Montecito High School. She later decided to pursue a career in culinary arts and hospitality, which led her to graduated from the California Culinary Academy of San Francisco,


Michelle has been a resident of Ramona since 1989 when she moved here with her parents at 8 years old, going on to attend Ramona High School.


After high school, Michelle decided to pursue a career in culinary arts and hospitality, which led her to attend and graduate from the California Culinary Academy of San Francisco. After college, she returned to Ramona to start her family.

In 2016, Michelle and her then business partner, Matthew Rains, purchased the iconic local restaurant, Cheers of Ramona. Matt and Michelle wanted to keep the small town charm of Cheers but knew it needed a major overall. Together, they renovated the restaurant and, in spite of the challenges facing the hospitality industry during the COVID pandemic, continue to successfully own and operate it today.


In 2020, Michelle was elected to the Ramona Community Planning Group, one of the top vote getters chosen to represent the community in county land use and planning decisions. As a planning board member, Michelle has prioritized efforts to ensure street and traffic safety and responsible growth in Ramona.



Career Technical Education

As someone who didn’t follow the typical four-year university route, Michelle is passionate about career technical education and promoting educational opportunities that lead to high-paying local jobs. As a Palomar College Trustee, Michelle will work to expand career-based programs at Palomar. 


In particular, Michelle will spearhead the relaunch of a culinary arts/hospitality program at Palomar to provide students with certifications, and eventually an associate's degree pathway, in culinary arts in order to prepare more students to fill highly in-demand local jobs in the food service and hospitality sector.

Fiscal Reponsbiliity

As a small business owner, Michelle understands how to balance budgets and responsibly plan for the future. Palomar College has suffered from years of poor financial planning, leading to the State’s Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team declaring Palomar to be on the brink of bankruptcy in 2019. While the board has adopted pieces of the FCMAT recommendations, there is still much work to do to ensure the long term fiscal solvency of the district. Michelle will bring an independent, business-minded approach to budgeting and the financial decision making process at Palomar. She will make sure that affordability and taxpayer protection are always top priorities.

Reaching All Communities in the District

As a long time resident of the unincorporated communities, and an advocate for Ramona as a planning board member, Michelle is passionate about ensuring the back country receives it’s fair share of resources, including those related to higher education through Palomar College.


As a Palomar College Trustee, Michelle will make sure that the Rancho Bernardo Education Center as well as Palomar’s education sites in Ramona receive satisfactory resources to meet local demand and have ample course offerings for students that are unable to commute to the main campus. In addition, Michelle would look to partner with other local institutions in unincorporated communities to partner with and expand course offerings, replicating the Palomar course offerings at Ramona High School with new partnerships in Valley Center and Borrego Springs.


Local Elected Officials

Maya Phillips, Ramona Unified School Board Member

Bob Stoody, Ramona Unified School Board Member

Roger Dohm, Ramona Unified School Board Member

Robin Joy Maxson, Ramona Planning Group Chair

Torry Brean, Ramona Planning Group Vice Chair

Scotty Ensign, Ramona Planning Group Member

Kristi Manslof, Ramona Planning Group Member

Lynn Hopeful, Ramona Planning Group Member


Public Safety Officials

Timothy Daniels, Supvy. Special Agent ICE (Ret.)

Glen Morgan, Oceanside City Fire Captain