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Donna Frye


Spirit of the Women's Hall of Fame

Donna Frye, a passionate community and environmental leader and a strong advocate for women's rights, served on the San Diego City Council for nine years, representing the 6th District. Donna rarely missed the twice-weekly council meetings and served with great honor. Her accomplishments and leadership made Donna a hero to many San Diegans.

Born in Abington, Pennsylvania, Donna moved to San Diego at a very young age when her father accepted a job with the U.S. Navy. She spent three years abroad and returned to the Clairemont community, where she attended elementary and secondary public schools. Donna also worked at a variety of jobs, including retail, equipment rental facilities, a gas station, and a dentist's office. She received an Associates of Arts degree from Cosumnes River College in Sacramento and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from National University.

In 1980, Donna met legendary surfer and environmentalist Skip Frye at a local Mexican restaurant. In the late 1980s, the couple opened a surf shop in Pacific Beach and married in 1990. Donna used her time in the shop as an opportunity to encourage residents to become involved in important local issues and participate in the democratic process. In June 2001, Donna was elected to the San Diego City Council, defeating Steve Danon, then chief of staff for county supervisor Ron Roberts, in a special election. Donna served her constituents and worked to increase public participation in local government, strengthen public infrastructure, expand library services, protect the environment, reduce traffic speeds in neighborhoods, and to enhance the lives of San Diegans. Donna championed open and honest government that is accountable to constituents. During her service as councilmember, she chaired many committees including the Natural Resources and Culture, the Budget and Finance, and Rules Committees. Frye ran unsuccessfully for mayor of San Diego but continued to engage in political action on behalf of open government.

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