How Should We Judge Candidates?

We are getting very close to voting. Ballots should be in mailboxes starting February 5th. Remember that there will be no general election in November for this race. It will be decided by March 5th.

Last week was the first – and only – head-to-head forum between myself and incumbent, Patrick Jones. The forum took place in Lakehead.

It lasted nearly 2 hours, but there was one moment in particular that defines what this election is about for me – and I believe, for Shasta County.

About halfway through (51 mins in the video), a woman in the audience asked Supervisor Jones, “What are you doing for Lakehead? We don’t have police. We don’t have fire…”

In essence, she was answering the question Ronald Reagan asked during the 1980 presidential debate: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”

Lakehead has wanted a resident sheriff deputy for years. It hasn’t gotten one. In fact, during Supervisor Jones’ time as a supervisor, the Board reduced the number of budgeted deputies from 52 to 48.

If we look at the whole county, the numbers paint an even clearer answer to Reagan’s question: No.

  • Homelessness has grown from less than 300 in 2007 to over 1,000
  • Redding has a violent crime rate nearly equal to San Francisco’s (The county influences this through its role overseeing the jail. I would share county crime data, but the data is not accurate for the last few years.)
  • Our suicide rate is the worst in the state
  • Our roads are 7th worst
  • Our rates of childhood trauma are 2.5 times the state average
  • Our fentanyl overdose deaths have increased by ~10x since 2019

This is how we should judge our elected officials.

Instead, we often vote for candidates who made policy decisions or statements we agree with, rather than looking at the results of their time in office. We vote for candidates who are “fighting for us” even if they are losing those fights.

As a result, governments vacuum up more of our tax dollars without making the community better. If we don’t hold our elected officials accountable to deliver results, not policies or speeches, we will continue to have a government that underperforms, a government that keeps growing to meet the growing needs.

I’m running to get results for the community. I’m running to shrink the government by making it so effective the need for it also shrinks.

If I can’t help move the needle on these issues, then I would hope that in 4 years, you would find someone else who can.