With the California primary election fast approaching, voters will get a chance this week to learn more about the candidates vying for Santa Barbara County’s 3rd District supervisor’s seat.
The Lompoc-Vandenberg branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) will host a 3rd District candidate forum from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, at the Providence Landing Clubhouse, 699 Mercury Ave. in Vandenberg Village.
Scheduled to appear at the forum are incumbent Joan Hartmann, who has served as 3rd District supervisor since 2016; as well as challengers Karen Jones, a Santa Ynez Community Services District board member; and Jessica Alvarez Parfrey, a community activist and member of Eco Vista, an Isla Vista-based sustainability organization.
Bruce Porter, who also is a candidate in the race, has informed the AAUW that he will be unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict, according to the organization.
Porter, a financial adviser and former Santa Ynez Joint Union High School District board member, decided not to send a representative in his place in an effort to alleviate concerns that doing so could be unfair to the other candidates or the forum process, according to the AAUW.
Both Porter and Jones ran against Hartmann in the 2016 primary.
During the forum, each of the participating candidates will be given a chance to introduce themselves before answering a series of four questions that they each were given ahead of time. After that, they will be asked a fifth question that won’t be revealed until the forum, and, following a short break, will have an opportunity to answer questions directly from the public.
The four questions that the candidates received ahead of time are:
- What is your plan for addressing homelessness in Santa Barbara County?
- What will be three of your county budget priorities?
- How do you plan to address climate change, fossil fuel development and their impacts on Santa Barbara County?
- How will you support diversity at all levels of county government?
The candidates will face off on the March 3 primary ballot. If any of them receives more than 50% of votes, he or she will be elected. If none of them receives more than 50% support, the top two vote-getters will move on to battle in the Nov. 3 general election.
The 3rd District includes Mission Hills, Vandenberg Village, the Santa Ynez Valley, Guadalupe, the Gaviota coast, and Isla Vista and UC Santa Barbara.
The AAUW bills itself as a nonpartisan organization. It has presented candidate and issue forums in the Lompoc Valley for more than 50 years.
For more information about the forum or AAUW in general, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 805-588-2916.
Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.