Assembly line: Four compete for District 1 state assembly seat
May 31, 2018
The candidates in the race for California's District 1 Assembly seat are an eclectic bunch.
Incumbent Brian Dahle, a Republican, finds himself facing up against two Democrats and an Independent. Dahle's three opponents are political newcomers, each vying to serve a first term.
Dahle, who has held the seat since 2012, said he thinks he deserves a fourth term based on his experience.
"I've been doing the job for six years," said Dahle. "Also for 16 years I served on the Board of Supervisors in Lassen County and I am a small business owner. I have a lot of experience in running businesses and balancing budgets. When I left Lassen we were debt free."
Dahle cited crime as one of the top issues facing not just the district but the state as a whole.
"There's real crime, number one, and I have been working tirelessly trying to make California safe," Dahle said, saying he's working to put criminals in jail.
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Dahle took home the victory easily in the 2016 general election when he defeated Libertarian candidate Donn Coenen by winning nearly 74 percent of the vote.
The National Rifle Association and Professional Engineers in California Government have both offered Dahle their endorsements. In February he was rated 100 percent by the American Conservative Union.
Following the 2016 elections, an insurgence of female and minority candidates ventured into the political ring, and the District 1 Assembly race is no exception.
While Dahle hopes for a fourth term, college student Jenny O'Connell-Nowain from Redding is making a run in the race. The lone independent on the ticket, O'Connell-Nowain said the top two issues on which she is focused are education reform and making college affordable for more students.
She said her experience in mediating disagreeing parties lends her the skills needed to proactively discuss hot button issues that frequently end up on the Assembly floor.
"I look at politics different," said O'Connell Nowain. "I'm not party affiliated, because I'm here to represent ideas not blue team, red team. I'm here to get things done."
On her GoFundMe page, which has raised $140 of her $4,000 goal, O'Connell-Nowain said that although she was offered money by organized political parties she accepted none.
Democrat Caleen Sisk, chief of the Winnemen Wintu Tribe, also seeks the District 1 seat. On a platform largely based in conservation, restoration and innovation, Sisk is the first Native American to run for the seat.
"All of California depends on the clean water, fresh air, abundant farms and forests of our region, but those of us who live here need greater opportunities," said Sisk. "We are rich in resources, but many young people in our rural communities feel pressured to leave because they can't find good-paying jobs."
Sisk has lived in the district her entire life, and was previously a teacher and advisor to low-income students at the California State University at Chico. She has received the endorsement of the California Federation of Labor.
Peter van Peborgh of Kings Beach rounds out the candidates. A Democrat, he works as a property manager. Van Peborgh did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Members of state Assembly serve two-year terms, and officially take office one month after the general election.
The two candidates who receive the most votes on Tuesday will compete in the general election, slated for November 6.
Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer for The Union, She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4231.