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In Our Opinion: Our March 5 primary election endorsements

Lake County Record Bee-In Our Opinion

Feb 4, 2024

All 3 NBLC Lake County Endorsed Candidate also Endorsed by Record Bee

In just over a month’s time, our community will be going back to the polls and casting their votes for a number of local and state races with significant future repercussions for Lake County, including a decision on who will occupy several open seats on the Board of Supervisors. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing concerns regarding the economy, redistricting as a result of the most recent census count, and the county’s ongoing efforts to restructure local ordinances dealing with the evolving cannabis industry among other critical issues, we present our picks reflecting the candidates we feel are the best choices for Lake County and the best people to represent us moving forward.

Unlike previous years, we feel heartened to see a wide range of candidates which have thrown their hat in the ring for the various positions including contested races for Districts 1, 4 and 5. For the District 1 race as a result of Moke Simon’s announcement that he would not seek re-election, five candidates are vying for the opportunity to serve representing Middletown, Hidden Valley Lake and surrounding areas.

For District 1 we fully support John Hess. While we feel other candidates made good points during their campaigns and some espoused some really interesting “out of the box” solutions for local concerns, Hess stood out from this crowded primary field due to his experience in the planning commission and previous efforts working with other elected officials and government bodies. As a member of our editorial board put it, new supervisors usually have some time where they are just learning about what is going on and what they need to do before they can actually focus on trying to make some changes. John’s experiences and knowledge give him a huge advantage.

Moving on to District 4, our pick for the seat vacated by Tina Scott and held on an interim basis by Michael Green is Laura McAndrews Sammel. With respect to all other candidates in yet another crowded race, Sammel gets the nod because we feel what Lake County needs most in this economy is a supervisor who can work best with the various business associations and in the aftermath of COVID’s devastating effect on local retailers and mom and pops, Sammel’s networking with these organizations in her current capacity as CEO of the Lake County Chamber of Commerce, member of the Lake County Rotary, to name a few, is welcomed.

In this respect, in our eyes, Sammel, a Lake County resident and member of its business community for nearly 20 years has the acumen, work ethic and proven track record to lead the county through a critical transitional period of economic recovery and future prosperity. Not to mention a background in Human Resources and economic development.

For the final BOS seat: District 5, which includes the communities of Kelseyville, Buckingham, Loch Lomond, and parts of Cobb Mountain, the clear choice for us is incumbent Jessica Jennings Pyska. She has demonstrated her dedication not only to her community of Cobb which was destroyed by the Valley fire, but to the rest of her expanding district, and has been on the forefront of leading various economic development, wildfire preparedness and resilience and response projects. Her dedication to these and other efforts during her first term on the board has proven she has the vision and networking skills paramount to moving our county forward. With all due respect to her opponent who remarked in public that it’s time for a change, we don’t believe that to be the case.

We are also endorsing Shanda Harry in the position of Superior Court Judge Department 4 over challenger Anna Gregorian. Incumbent Harry’s accomplishments in office include setting up a mental health court and upcoming care court for the county and plans to continue addressing the issue of helping the homeless community’s access to the justice system. While we have heard praise for Gregorian from colleagues and clients, Harry’s position for five years gives her the institutional experience and knowledge required to continue these vital efforts at the county level.

Lastly, In the 4th Congressional district race for representation of Lake County, we endorse Democrat Mike Thompson. Again and again, Thompson has demonstrated his commitment to our county with ties to the community and accessibility by residents and constituents. The Congressman has a long-standing detailed track record of working on behalf of Lake County residents including key responses to the devastating wildfires seen over the last few years as well as advocacy on issues such as improved infrastructure, education and broadband accessibility to name but a few.

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