Das Williams
Paul Wellman (file)

Continuing the flurry of political bids for 2016, Assemblymember Das Williams announced Monday that he will run for 1st District Supervisor of Santa Barbara County. Williams, 40, terms out of the California State Assembly next year after serving in the legislature since 2010. Before that, he spent seven years on the Santa Barbara City Council.

Williams said many people had urged him to run for Congress but “one more good, progressive Democrat in that race would just increase the unnecessary mess and carnage.” Salud Carbajal, who currently represents Santa Barbara’s 1st District, and Mayor Helene Schneider — both Democrats — formally announced their bids for the 24th Congressional District seat last week. Williams, whose wife is pregnant with their first child, added he wants to be a “good father first.”

Encompassing much of the South Coast, the 1st District includes Carpinteria, Montecito, the City of Santa Barbara, and Cuyama. Before Carbajal took office in 2005, the late Naomi Schwartz held the office for a decade.

“I don’t think it’s a secret to anyone that I love the policy work at the county level,” Williams said, adding that the supervisors have supported state bills he authored. He cited urban planning, land-use issues, and open space preservation as key issues for the area. “I also, in my time in the legislature, have become much more aware of mental health problems,” Williams went on. “The county is a primary provider for mental health.”

In 2006, Williams ran for 2nd District Supervisor but lost in the primaries to Janet Wolf, who beat Dan Secord for the seat. In the Assembly, Williams chairs the natural resources committee and sits on higher education, water, parks, wildlife, and the utilities and commerce committees.

Who will endorse Williams remains to be seen. It is also unclear who will run against him. Williams said that he will run a campaign regardless because walking door-to-door is “one of the most important ways to learn and improve your understanding” of community needs.


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