The dust has settled on the decennial redistricting of congressional, state legislative and local government electoral districts. And what a process it was!
Among other dramatic developments, the old CD-4 was split in twain. In rough terms, the boundaries of the southern portion of the previous CD-4 were extended, going from the foothills into portions of the Central Valley. The new district (#5) leans more Republican than did the old fourth. As we predicted, our old nemesis, Tom McClintock, chose to run in it, rather than in the more competitive new 3rd CD. Once the new lines were drawn, Democrat Mike Barkley announced that he will run in the primary against McClintock; he previously ran unsuccessfully in the last five primaries in the old CD-10.
The remaining northern and eastern portions of the old CD-4 picked up the adjoining areas of Nevada County that wasn’t already included, and added Sierra, Sutter, and Plumas counties to the north, and Inyo and Mono counties to the southeast to create a new CD-3.
That new district stretches over five hundred miles north to south and includes many vastly different regions—economically, demographically, and politically. Four individuals (two who share the last name—Jones) have, as this is written, announced their candidacies.
On the Republican side, Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, who recently ran unsuccessfully to replace the Governor in the Recall Election, and Scott Jones, the controversial former Sacramento County Sheriff, have both announced. On the Democratic side, Dr. Kermit Jones, MD has been running for over a year now, and was the first candidate (in either district) to announce. This is his first election campaign. David Peterson, who previously ran unsuccessfully in the old CD-1, also recently announced he would run in CD-3.
So, the battle lines have been drawn in the congressional races. But, as we look at the challenges—and the opportunities– facing the Sierra region, we feel there is an even more urgent need for us to focus on local elections. Some very extreme candidates are running– and winning– because the mainstream views of our community are not reflected in the election process.
Sierra Forward has redefined its mission and is developing an operational plan to reflect these new realities. It is our firm intent to encourage and support “causes, campaigns and candidates” that are focused on achieving mainstream solutions and fact-based decision-making, who don’t reflect “big lies” or echo “Faux News.” We intend to engage in the issues that unite us, while speaking honestly and with respect about those that divide.
Some of the key issues in the region are common elsewhere: jobs, sustainable economic opportunity, accessible quality health care, well-functioning towns, and thriving public schools. Others are more unique to the Sierra – addressing wildfires and their impact on things like insurance, better forest management, managing increasingly-limited water, rural transportation, and the cost and availability of affordable housing.
Sierra Forward believes the foothill and mountain counties and people have distinct economic, social, and environmental concerns and views, that local solutions are often best, and that there is value in frank, inclusive discussion. We believe that California will never be healthy– environmentally or economically– if the Sierra is not.
We intend to work with many groups throughout the region to identify important local races, and to support and encourage like-minded candidates for election in our region. With the support of engaged, connected citizens, we will move beyond division and get meaningful things done.
We need your help to implement this vision. Please consider a donation to help our efforts to move away from the extremes we are witnessing– and defending against.