Three candidates in running for two Grass Valley city council seats |

Three candidates in running for two Grass Valley city council seats

Ben Aguilar

The race is on.

Bob Branstrom, a retired research analyst, was the first candidate to officially announce Monday that he is in the running for a seat on the Grass Valley City Council.

Hilary Hodge, who ran for Nevada County supervisor against incumbent Dan Miller in June, announced later in the day she is also throwing her hat into the ring for the Nov. 6 election.

There will be two seats up for election on the council, which currently are held by Ben Aguilar and Jason Fouyer.

Normally, Friday would be the filing deadline. But if one of the incumbents does not file by then, the deadline gets pushed out to Aug. 15. Fouyer, who has been on the council for eight years, told The Union he would not seek re-election.

“I’ve enjoyed sculpting the community,” he said. “But it’s time for somebody else to step up.”

Aguilar, meanwhile, said he will run in his first election since being appointed in 2015, to fill a seat left vacant after Terry Lamphier resigned.

“As a current Grass Valley council member, I have supported and voted for a variety of projects that include a more walkable community, new trails, new housing (which Grass Valley desperately needs), cleaner and more modern parks, and the latest technology for our fire and police departments,” Aguilar said in an email.

Aguilar, 38, was raised in Grass Valley, attended Nevada Union High School and graduated from California State University, Sonoma. He previously served on the Grass Valley Planning Commission.

“As a young member of this community with a growing family, I want to continue the positive path Grass Valley has created to make our community better for families, retirees, and new and existing businesses,” Aguilar added.

On Monday afternoon, Hodge, 38, said she has filed the paperwork for her election committee.

Hodge mounted a strong race against Miller, losing by just 160 votes.

“My resolve to serve and to work for the people of Grass Valley has never been stronger,” Hodge said. “My bid for Nevada County District 3 Supervisor gave me the opportunity to talk with our community in a deep and meaningful way. The people of Grass Valley are ready for innovative ideas and new opportunities, and I am ready to lead for the people of Grass Valley.”

Branstrom, a resident of Wolf Creek Lodge Cohousing community, has been active as a volunteer in numerous local organizations and has been a very visible presence at city council and NID meetings.

“Grass Valley is a fantastic place to live and I want to help make it an even better place,” Branstrom said in a press release. Branstrom, 67, worked in state government as a program analyst, in the banking industry and in the health-care industry before moving to Grass Valley in 2013.

“I would like to improve Grass Valley’s livability, especially through diversifying our local economy and making our community more attractive to young families,” Branstrom said. “This means improving our public safety services to deal with local crime and fire risks and increasing our local housing stock.”

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User