District 3 Nevada County Board of Supervisors candidates Hilary Hodge, Dan Miller spar (VIDEO)
The candidates in the District 3 Nevada County Board of Supervisors race have drawn divisions between themselves, with the incumbent citing experience versus his opponent’s argument of the need for a fresh perspective.
Hilary Hodge has argued that she’ll bring a new, and needed, look at the district that includes Grass Valley. She’s waged her campaign on the streets, at gatherings and online. She’s highlighted her community involvement, both locally and at the state Capitol, as strengths in her campaign.
Incumbent Dan Miller also has knocked on doors and pushed his message on Facebook. He’s said a supervisor needs experience and points to over two decades of public service. A supervisor, he’s said, shouldn’t get training on the job.
The District 3 contest is the only contested race on the Board of Supervisors. Sue Hoek has no opposition for the District 4 seat, as Supervisor Hank Weston opted against running.
Hodge’s run for elected office stemmed from her attendance at public meetings, especially those focused on economic development. She decided the county needed a new perspective after experiencing those meetings and questioning how taxpayer dollars are spent.
Now Hodge wants to take her perspective to the Board of Supervisors.
“My experience and my relationships make me the most qualified candidate for the job,” Hodge said.
Miller has argued that Hodge doesn’t have the experience for the job. She counters with what she calls a resume of accomplishments instead of Miller’s resume of jobs. She’s a statewide officer on the California Democratic Party’s Rural Caucus. She regularly meets with state legislators on issues including jobs, water, rural broadband and affordable housing.
During her door-to-door campaigning Hodge has heard concerns ranging from crime to jobs. Voters tell her they want their community to thrive.
“It’s all the things that I want,” she said.
Asked how a lone supervisor can accomplish any goal, Hodge said she can write grant applications. She argues there are state and federal grants Nevada County isn’t pursuing.
Pivoting to the county’s greatest need, Hodge said affordable housing is a necessity. Many other needs feed off of affordable housing, like school enrollment and a strong local economy.
“We definitely need to have jobs for our families and our workforce,” Hodge said. “If we don’t have sustainability, the future is in question.”
Asked about cannabis, Hodge called it a big issue but not the biggest. She said officials should tie the cannabis industry into local economic development.
“We have seen a lot of delay and that’s going to be detrimental,” Hodge said. “We are dragging our feet and we might miss out on economic opportunities because of it.”
Finishing his first term on the Board of Supervisors, Miller said he wants to continue in that role.
“I always look at a first term as a time to get projects started,” he said. “I look at a second term to finish those projects.”
Miller pointed to a senior affordable housing project in Penn Valley. He said construction could begin early next year.
The creation of a new marijuana grow ordinance is another item on Miller’s list, as is the creation of a day center for the county’s homeless population. Miller wants that center to grow into a 24/7 facility, where county employees could deliver services for those with substance abuse and mental health issues. People also could receive help with job searches.
Explaining why people should vote for him, Miller said he has 27 years of experience. He knows the community, and has relationships with business owners and nonprofits.
“I’m not a newbie at this,” he said. “I understand local government. I understand the process.”
Miller said he’s emphasized his strengths in the campaign. He said he understands issues like government financing and zoning, and found that the most successful people have the most experience.
“Because this is a nonpartisan seat, I make up my own mind,” Miller said.
Asked about the county’s biggest issues, Miller pointed to housing and high-speed internet. He said the county needs infrastructure that will enable developers and businesses to locate here.
The Higgins Marketplace is one example, Miller said. The county is widening parts of Combie Road and completing sewer work, an incentive for the marketplace developer.
Switching to cannabis, Miller said there’s been no delay in the implementation of a new grow ordinance. Supervisors have instead created an in-depth process that involved a citizen panel. That panel gave recommendations to supervisors for the ordinance.
An environmental review required for the ordinance couldn’t begin until supervisors decided key aspects of the new rules, Miller added.
To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.