© 2020 • Williams Pioneer Review | The duplication and distribution by any means, including but not limited to photocopying, screenshots, photographing, retyping, and posting to the Internet, a personal or commercial website, or social media account without express permission of the publisher of this newspaper is forbidden by law.
The Colusa County Chamber of Commerce hosted two well-attended forums last week that allowed voters in Supervisorial Districts 2 and 3 the opportunity to meet the candidates whose names will be on the March 3 primary ballots.
With the planned retirement this coming December of Supervisor John Loudon, who represents the Colusa-Grimes area of District 2, the primary field is wide open.
Robert Moroconi, Dave Markss, Laurie Okland Waters, and Daurice Kalsbeek Smith are the contenders in the District 2 race. A candidate gaining the majority of primary votes on March 3 will take office in January. If no one captures more than 50 percent, the two leading vote-getters will have a runoff in the 2020 presidential election in November.
Voters, however, will decide the District 3 leadership in March as Incumbent Supervisor Kent Boes faces challenger Jason McMullan in a two-man primary contest.
District 3 encompasses largely the city of Williams and the farmland to the south.
At the first of the two forums, District 2 candidates drew a standing room only crowd at Colusa Industrial Properties on Jan. 29.
“I don’t think we have ever had this big of a turnout,” said Donna Critchfield, who had hosted the election forums in Colusa County for decades.
The forum followed the same California League of Woman Voters format that Critchfield used when the Soroptimist International of Colusa County chapter hosted the event every two years.
Each candidate had just a few minutes for their opening statements, followed by quite a large number of questions, forcing Critchfield to combine as many as possible to avoid overlapping subjects.
The same was true for the District 3 forum the following night at the Williams Community Center, which hosted Boes and McMullan.
While candidate forums typically serve as a way for those running for office to distinguish themselves on the county’s biggest issues, the sheer number of questions reflected that voters have a lot of issues on their minds.
Candidates responded to questions on economic development, hemp and cannabis production, the ambulance shortage, Sites Reservoir, roads and infrastructure, public health and safety, groundwater, increasing cost of government, proposed new taxes, and flood protection, among others.
Markss, candidate for District 2, and Boes, incumbent supervisor in District 3, are running on their experience and leadership.
Markss is an elected member of the Colusa City Council and was the lead detective for many years in the Colusa County District Attorney’s Office.
Boes served four years as an elected member of the Williams City Council prior to his election to the Board of Supervisors in 2016.
Both have served on numerous committees that deal with or overlap city, county, state and even federal issues.
McMullan, challenger in District 3, also holds elected office as a member of the Colusa County Board of Education.
The six candidates for the two districts struck many common themes and shared similar values and goals to preserve Colusa County’s rural identity while facing challenges of inadequate local, state, and federal funding.
While each candidate came to the forum with many of their own followers, many who attended said they left the forum with a better understanding of what each supervisor hopeful has to offer.
“I think any one of them would make a good supervisor,” said Sally Barker, of Williams.
Colusa County Clerk Recorder Rose Gallo-Vasquez said vote by mail ballots would be arriving this week, with more than 60 percent voting by mail as opposed to casting ballots at polling places.
“Election Day is quickly approaching,” Gallo-Vasquez said. “And for this election, we have our local contests depending on where you live in the county.”
Colusa County voters will also vote on a Yuba College bond measure and a single statewide measure, Proposition 13, which authorizes $15 billion in general obligation bonds for school facilities.
Voters within the Williams Unified School District will decide a bond measure as well.
“This election we will have a new voting system that was purchased by the county,” Gallo-Vasquez said. “We were given 100 percent funding by the state and federal governments, so it was zero cost to the county.”
Election Day is March 3.
In depth candidate profiles will be published in the Feb. 12 edition of the Pioneer Review. ■