State assembly contest still not much of a race
Current City: Bieber, Calif.
Occupation: Farmer and Assemblyman
Education: Big Valley High School
Family: Wife Megan Dahle, and three children.
Current City: Gazelle, Calif.
Education: Student at the College of the Siskiyous
Family: Father and mother both work in hope support services.
Q&A with District One assemblyman Brian Dahle
1. How will you help preserve local farms and local produce growing in Nevada County?
Well the first thing, I think that one of the priorities is to make sure that we try to keep moving on the Williamson Act which protects farm land, they changed the funding mechanism toward that before I was in office. I am currently trying to find a way to restore the Williamson Act which is something that keeps open space and helps farmers stay on the land. The other thing is to work aggressively on water policy. Farms need water and I’m trying to be proactive in that arena, and then just regulations that affect farmers and trying to keep them with some exemptions. For example air quality standards, and giving them some time to phase in so they can adapt to the new regulations.
2. Several businesses in Nevada County are being affected by the retroactive truck and bus regulations the California Air Resources Board, also known as CARB, has implemented to reduce pollution and diesel particulates statewide. What is your stance on the new CARB regulations, and what will you do to support local businesses?
I’m vice chair of the Natural Resources Board, and I will continue to try and stay on that committee, and one of the reasons why I’m on that committee is because of the CARB regulations. A lot of the stuff that comes through that committee is because of our forestry and I’ve worked in the past for some exemptions for logging trucks for example, because they don’t go into the cities where the air quality is bad, we’ve been able to give them the exemption because they usually go out in the woods to the mill. So we have been able to give a little bit of relief. The ultimate goal is to give the business owners time to allow their equipment, which they purchased and was legal under the existing air quality rules then, so that its life span gets used up. So when they replace them, obviously the new models are built with the emissions that meet the standards.
The other thing about CARB that’s really interesting, is they don’t calculate the emissions from forest fires in the carbon output for California. Over 50 percent of the carbon that is released is from forest fires and this year we’ve had over 2,000 acres in my district alone burned. I think it’s kind of odd.
I have a commercial truck and I’m under that regulation so by 2018 I have to exchange it or retrofit it, or buy a new one. So I mentioned to the board you regulate our lawn mowers, our barbecues and our commercial trucks and everything that has a diesel motor in it. But we don’t even count the emissions from forest fires, so I’m going to be introducing legislation that asks the air board to put that into the calculation so at least we can be calculating all the carbon output in California.
3. How would you help to spur economic development in your district?
Well number one, which is something that I’ve done as a county supervisor over the years, is try to retain the jobs that we have to keep the businesses that we have. I think broadband is what makes it difficult for some of the rural counties is that we don’t have the access to the high speed that we need for some of the development.
I know that for sure in Nevada County that’s been a hot topic that we’ve been talking about, so for sure trying to get the broadband services up there so we can keep those businesses and development in that area.
The other thing is trying to keep the regulations so that the people that are in business can stay in business. It’s a lot easier to expand an existing business, those people are successful at it. So my goal is to bring the new ones in, but keep the existing businesses and help them expand because those are folks who already know how to operate a business and try to give them the tools they need to hire more people.
In May, California First District Assembly candidate Brigham Smith (Dem.) told The Union that his chances for victory against Republican incumbent Brian Dahle are “slim to none.”
Smith was right, as he lost the primary, receiving around 30 percent of the vote, compared to Dahle who received close to 70 percent.
The race was one of the state’s most lopsided victories, and there is little indication that it will be any different the second time around.
“I’ve been to many forums and I haven’t met him and I haven’t seen him,” Dahle said, referring to Smith. “I don’t know what his approach is to the campaign, but I’m continuing to ask people for their votes. We’re doing some radio and doing signs and doing outreach to the constituents to get out the vote for my campaign.”
District 1 encompasses the state’s northeastern region, which includes Nevada, Butte, Lassen, Placer, Siskiyou, Plumas, Modoc, Shasta and Sierra counties. While Dahle won the primary election against his only opponent by a majority vote, due to the state’s “top-two system,” Dahle is required to continue campaigning for the Nov. 4 general election run-off.
With a vast advantage over Smith in campaign contributions and experience, Dahle is an overwhelming favorite to win his first re-election bid.
Dahle also benefits from the district’s voting demographics, where Republican voters outnumber Democrats.
With a background in business and farming, Dahle, 49, became an Assembly member in November 2012 after ousting fellow Republican Rick Bosetti with 65.6 percent of the district’s vote.
Smith, a student at the College of the Siskiyous, admittedly has no experience in politics and decided to run after his father was asked to run by the Democratic Party, but declined.
Smith has previously said he is attempting to differentiate himself as the candidate not afraid of heavier market regulations. He has never publicly debated Dahle at any district forums. After repeated inquiries by The Union, Smith could not be reached for comment.
Dahle said that regardless of his opponent’s campaign, he is going into the Nov. 4 election as the incumbent candidate hoping to win the district’s vote.
“I know that campaigning is difficult, but I very much respect the peoples’ vote,” Dahle said. “I’m asking them for their vote and I want to be able to represent them again for another two years.”
Dahle added, “I’m a third-generation farmer, and I have a business to run every day, so I am faced with the same things that the constituents that are trying to create jobs are in. So that experience sets me apart from him.”
To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4236.
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