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Three candidates vying for Santa Barbara County's 3rd District supervisor seat

Posted: 5:11 PM, Feb 25, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-26 13:51:43-05
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Three candidates vying for Santa Barbara County's 3rd District supervisor seat

The race is on to see who will be Santa Barbara County's next 3rd District supervisor.

Current supervisor for the 3rd District, Joan Hartmann, will be going head-to-head with Bruce Porter and Karen Jones in the March 3 Primary for the position that covers a large area from Guadalupe to Isla Vista.

As the incumbent, Hartmann says she is in the race to continue the work she's already started on public safety, economic vitality and environmental sustainability.

While campaigning is not anything new for Hartmann, she says she was taken aback by the influence national politics has had on local elections.

"A lot of the nastiness from the federal level is coming down to the local level in deceit and distortion. And people, I don't believe, I am betting my money that they don't like that," Hartmann said.

She said she wants to continue to address the growing concerns and issues like mental health needs and homelessness within the county.

"It is a big complex district with many needs and I am hoping to wrap this up in March so that I can get back to the job because it is a complex job and running and doing the job at the same time is a stretch," Hartmann said.

Bruce Porter and Karen Jones both ran against Hartmann back in 2016.

Porter said he decided to run again to address the pending needs he sees for the county's largest and most diverse district.

"In the last three years, things have really gotten worse in the county. Poverty is worse, homelessness is worse, the potential for fire is worse. Funding for our schools is down. I want to fix all of those and I think they are very fixable. That is a very strong motivator for me," Porter said.

Karen Jones is the current president of the Santa Ynez Community Services District and hopes to be the breath of fresh air she says the district needs.

"I like to mention I brought diversity to the two current boards I serve on but I also like to remind people that I am the diversity. I am the diversity of ideas, I am the diversity of background and there are many ways a voter can see the difference in me and the two people I am running against right now," Jones said.

While each candidate has plans to tackle contentious topics like the regulation on cannabis, energy sources, and public safety, campaigning has also left them with no easy job.

"It is still me doing all the leg work and I guess while I'm complaining about it a little bit I am also bragging because I think that is what people like to see. They like to see someone who is personally invested in their own campaign," Jones said.

"In Santa Barbara County, you live in your own little community but being able to get out and talk to different people in different areas, I thought at first it would be challenging but instead it's like wow, how interesting is that. Just an amazing opportunity to meet different people doing different things in the 3rd District," Porter said.

The race originally had a fourth candidate, Jessica Alvarez Parfrey, but she has dropped out and is now supporting Supervisor Joan Hartmann.