The field just doubled in the 2016 race for 1st District County Supervisor with Jennifer Christensen’s announced candidacy on October 13. Bolstered by endorsements from former supervisor Brooks Firestone and former Santa Barbara mayor Sheila Lodge, Christensen stated, “I’m running because I love this community. We need to preserve the small town charm, the beachside character, the semi-rural nature, and the agricultural uses of our communities. I will be responsive to the desires and needs of each of the communities in the First District. I will protect what makes Santa Barbara County so special.”
Christensen is currently the county’s Investment and Debt Officer and manages a billion-dollar portfolio for county, public schools, and special districts. She is also chair of the Santa Barbara County Employees’ Retirement System and the city’s Fire and Police Commission. Christensen states she has “worked with, negotiated for, or counseled every department in the county” in her various posts with County Counsel, CEO, and Auditor-Controller offices since 2001.
Married to a retired deputy sheriff, Christensen is 43. Of Christensen, who earned her undergraduate degree in history at UCLA and went on to USC for her law and master of business administration degrees, Firestone said, “Jen Christensen has the training and background to provide valuable financial leadership to our county.” According to Lodge, “[S]he has demonstrated astute judgment in managing county fiscal resources. There is no one more prepared to take on the responsibility of serving as First District Supervisor, and I know that she will be an independent voice for her constituents and an advocate for Santa Barbara.”
Christensen enters the race to represent Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito, Cuyama, and Santa Barbara at the county level roughly six months after Assemblymember Das Williams, who will term out next year, announced his candidacy. Williams had formerly been a Santa Barbara City Councilmember from 2003-2010 and a well-known Democratic Party activist. They seek the office currently held by Salud Carbajal, who is running for Congress. The formal period to file to run for county supervisor ends next March 16.