On Friday, a band of supporters from all over the Central Coast gathered on the picturesque deck of Tony Strickland‘s new district office. The California state senator and his staff shook hands with constituents and welcomed them to the office’s grand opening. “I’m very excited to be in Santa Barbara. This is the perfect location and it’s absolutely beautiful,” said Strickland of his new digs above the restaurant Melting Pot and overlooking State Street and downtown.
In addition to his Capitol Office, Strickland has a district office in Simi Valley and, now, Santa Barbara as well. Strickland – the Republican who emerged victorious over Democrat Hannah-Beth Jackson in November’s election – agreed that it can be difficult having more than one district office but nonetheless felt the additional location was necessary to represent Santa Barbara. (His 19th State Senatorial District comprises most of Santa Barbara County, much of Ventura County, and part of Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County.) “We wanted to fulfill our campaign promise to have one here,” said Mike Stoker, Santa Barbara County district director. Cory Bantilan, district representative, said staff chose to have an office in Santa Barbara not only for for geographic reasons but also because it was important to have representation here.
Chris Wangsaporn, Strickland’s chief of staff, said the senator believes in an “open door policy” that encourages anyone to come into the office, make an appointment, and meet with the senator or his staff. Bantilan emphasized the senator’s goals of providing excellent service to his constituents and will represent him at the office, as well as at meetings with the school board, area legislation, and business owners. “Mike and I sort of play the part of Tony Strickland while he’s at the Capitol,” said Bantilan. While Strickland will be in Sacramento Monday through Thursday, he will be splitting his Fridays evenly between the new office and the one in Simi Valley.
In the past month, the senator has been staging card table or coffeehouse meetings in Goleta and North County, asking residents to come out, introduce themselves, and stay for a chat. “My focus is to be a legislator on the streets. I want to go to the constituents,” said Strickland. But if you choose to go to him instead, visit Tony Strickland’s office located at 610 Anacapa St., Suite B-4.