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Sacramento County supervisor candidates kick off 1st debate

Sacramento County supervisor debate, Harris Center
Five candidates seeking a spot on the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors faced off in a March 15 debate at the Harris Center. // CH Sentinel

Around 200 people gathered inside the Harris Center Tuesday night to hear five Sacramento County supervisor candidates debate issues ranging from homelessness, to public safety and business growth.

The candidates will face off in the June primary election to fill Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan’s seat, after she announced last fall that she would not be seeking another term. Supervisor District 4 includes Citrus Heights, Folsom, a portion of Rancho Cordova, and other outlying areas of the county.

Candidates participating in the debate included Citrus Heights City Council Member Sue Frost, Folsom City Council Member Kerri Howell, teacher Gary Blenner, architect and high school coach Michael Kozlowski, and Folsom Cordova Unified School District Board Member Teresa Stanley.

Candidate highlights

Frost focused on public safety as the key role of government, and said she opposed minimum wage increases and “tent cities” for the homeless. The four-year Citrus Heights council member said she would ask three things about any proposal, if elected as supervisor: “Does it make common sense, does it protect our freedom and liberty, and can we afford it.”

Blenner set himself apart from the others on stage on a number of issues, advocating for a “county-owned, community bank,” a “Salt Lake City model” for free housing for the homeless, and a $15 minimum wage. Blenner was also the only candidate to express support for lifting the county ban on medical marijuana dispensaries.

Howell said she would focus on top priorities of “public safety, supporting and expanding our business community, creating jobs, and transportation.” As an engineer, Howell said she is “uniquely qualified” to improve transportation and infrastructure, which she said are key to business success and improving quality of life.

Kozlowski said he would work to make Sacramento “the best place in California to run a business and raise a family,” with a focus on economic development, infrastructure, and funding public safety. As an architect, Kozlowski said the county should be more friendly for development projects, sharing his personal encounter with “red tape” at the county level while working on a small office building project in Fair Oaks.

Stanley sought to establish herself as “the true business candidate in the room” and also emphasized her track record as a board member with Folsom Cordova Unified, which she said has become one of “the best public education systems in the entire state.” She emphasized creation of private-sector jobs and said county government needed to be turned into “a partner for economic growth, instead of a roadblock to job creation.”

Gary Burns, a former deputy sheriff, was also listed on schedule for the debate, but announced on his Facebook page the day before the debate that he had withdrawn from the race “due to unforeseeable family circumstances.”

The March 15 debate was hosted by the Folsom Chamber of Commerce and moderated by former Sacramento County Sheriff John McGinnis.

Read more about the debate in the SacBee story, “Sacramento County supervisorial debate focuses on growth, homeless”

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