Truckee native Sandwith challenging Dahle in District 1 Assembly race
TRUCKEE, Calif. — The November election is about one month away, and the race for California’s Assembly District 1 position is heating up between candidates Belle Starr Sandwith (D-Calif.) and current Assemblywoman Meghan Dahle (R-Calif.)
Sandwith is breaking into her inaugural year and is eager to bring some local influence to the political race.
“I was born and raised in Truckee off Donner Summit,” Sandwith said. “I graduated from Truckee High School in 1989. Then and now, I have always been passionate about this local community.”
While Sandwith has since moved from Truckee and now resides in Loyalton, she initially got involved in politics over a decade ago in 2008.
“I went knocking door-to-door during the Obama campaign in his first run throughout Truckee, that was my first toe in the water of local politics,” Sandwith said. “Years later, I then joined the Sierra County Democratic Central Committee in late 2019. When I joined, I didn’t know anything about Democratic Central Committees, and saw an advertisement in the local newspaper that they were looking for delegates.”
Upon further involvement in the local county’s Democratic Central Committee, Sandwith wanted to bring further awareness to the issues that she believes require the utmost importance, northern California’s forest fires.
“My opponent sees this district we are serving more so as farmland, whereas I see it as forest fire potentials. I’m tired of getting smoked and burned out every single summer, it must change for the better,” Sandwith said.
Being born and raised in North Lake Tahoe, Sandwith is very passionate about the region getting better control over the recurring wildfires that are happening every fire season.
“We absolutely have to do something about our forest mass,” Sandwith said. “Specifically, in Sierra County, the county seems to be amassing logs – not processing them. It’s essential that we get more mass out of the forest.”
Dahle, current elected representative for Assembly District 1, and Sandwith’s opponent, also believes in proactive forest fire prevention, but has a different take on how to properly manage forest fires.
Dahle issued a statement of Wildfire and Forest Resiliency Forum in September 2021, discussing the frustration with California’s current administration and during the legislative session, Republican lawmakers asked for a $500 million grant to the California Climate Initiative to be split between fire prevention and forest health.
“For years Republicans have been saying that combatting wildfire and the effects of climate change begins with sustainable forestry management practices. Yet year after year we have been ignored, our policies shunned, our legislation shot down and we have been at the mercy of special interest groups who would rather watch the state burn than work together to implement good environmental public policy,” Dahle’s statement said.
Fire prevention and forest health is at the forefront of Sandwith’s campaign, as she has been affected each fire season by nearby fires. Along with fire prevention, her campaign is also focused on healthcare accessibility, water management, and fair and equal housing.
According to Assemblywoman Dahle’s campaign website, Dahle advocates for rural education, public safety, small business, and wants to safely reopen the northstate.
Dahle’s website further elaborates that she wants to make sure that the rural communities in Northern California are fairly represented. During Dahle’s time as state representative, she has served as the vice chair of the Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee and sat on the Education Committee.
“I’ve championed for our beautiful forests and watershed, supported critical wildfire and rural education funding, secured funding for our districts, and opposed red tape, unnecessary government spending, and one-size-fits-all policies that do nothing but hurt our rural economies and keep businesses closed,” Dahle’s campaign website states.
With District 1 being composed of 11 Northern California counties, Sandwith is hopeful to bring a new voice to how district residents view not just their specific residential county, but also the High Sierra and Lake Tahoe regions.
“Every major river that California operates on, comes from this district,” Sandwith said. “District 1 is the lifeblood of California’s agricultural heritage. If we don’t stop ruining the forests and polluting the rivers with ash and mud from the fires, District 1 will severely change in a negative way. It’s time that California realizes that we’re more than just a vacation destination – we are so much more than that.”
For more information on Sandwith’s campaign, visit: https://sandwithforassembly.com/
For more information on Assemblywoman Dahle’s campaign, visit: https://www.votemegandahle.com/.
Madison Schultz is a reporter for the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publication of the Sun.
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