Bob Houston: From lobbyist to Placer supervisor candidate
If he gets his way, Bob Houston will soon make the switch from long-time state lobbyist to Placer County fifth district supervisor.
Houston, a 33-year resident of Meadow Vista on Nevada County’s western slope, is running against Donner Summit resident Jennifer Montgomery and incumbent Bruce Kranz. First working for Kaiser, then starting his own government affairs firm, Houston lobbied for local groups like the Tahoe City Public Utility District, North Tahoe Fire Protection District, the Resort Owners Association, and the Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe.
“More than a year ago I started looking for an exit strategy from my business, and began looking forward to new challenges,” Houston said. “I am going to retire at the end of the year and I hope to put my expertise to work for the people of Placer County.”
Houston said he plans on being very open and involved with the public and advisory groups, which supporter and Tahoe City resident Roger Kahn said set him apart from the other candidates.
“He seems receptive to the local community ” a lot more than the current supervisor,” Kahn said. “And he says local constituents will have a say in what goes on.”
Kahn said as a board member of the Tahoe City Public Utility District, he first got to know Houston as a lobbyist.
Houston said he was able to get $2 million for Commons Beach, part of about $10 million for water quality and recreation purposes on the lake.
Looking at issues in the eastern part of the district, Houston said he supports the Community Enhancement Program and is a believer in the Sierra Business Council model of responsible development.
“Houston seems like he is more in favor of measured growth,” Kahn said. “He’s not in the developers’ pocket.”
In that same vein, Houston is taking a different approach to the financial aspects of both his campaign and his potential position as supervisor.
Rather than soliciting campaign contributions, Houston said he put $100,000 of his own money into his campaign coffers.
If elected, he would donate his salary to a charity, Houston said.
“I’m not part of a political machine. It’s not my motive to run for higher office,” Houston said.
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