Hard-Working Joan Hartmann

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I write to urge you to reelect 3rd District Supervisor Joan Hartmann — my mom and the hardest working person I know.

Growing up, my mom was nonstop. Despite having a full-time job, she spent tireless evenings and weekends driving me all over Los Angeles — to music lessons, sports practice, sleepovers. She sat up with me late into the night as I agonized over my algebra homework, my college applications, my first heartbreaks. And after I went back East for college and law school, she flew across the country multiple times to help me move into new apartments, set up Ikea furniture, and organize my kitchen.

Over the past four years, my mom has concentrated this energy and determination on Santa Barbara County. During Thanksgiving 2016, our extended family gathered in Tucson, Arizona, to celebrate the holiday and my mom’s victory, and bemoan the fate of the federal government. I was surprised, our first night there, when my mom pulled out her address book and a giant stack of flowery cards.

“What are you doing?!” I demanded.

“Writing thank-you cards to my supporters,” she replied, matter-of-factly.

“What?! Why don’t you just print out the same message, like, a hundred times?”

“I couldn’t do that! These are people I know, who believed in me. I want to say ‘thank you’ personally.” 

And there she sat, pen in hand, for the next several hours.

I live in Oakland now, and, whenever I call home, my dad provides a staggering report of my mom’s movements throughout the day. “She was down in Isla Vista meeting with a student union. Then she went over to Solvang to ride a bike in a parade. She drove out to Vandenberg Village for a town hall, and I think she was doing some office hours in Guadalupe after that. And now she’s hosting a meeting on emergency preparedness somewhere … I can’t remember where.”

I’ve also had the privilege to tag along with my mom while down visiting — festivals in Los Alamos parks, sustainable retreat centers in Cuyuma, and, of course, lengthy board meetings. Throughout them all, she is approachable, curious, upbeat, prepared, and unflagging.

I’ve witnessed her on sadder days, too. This past Labor Day, we were sitting around our dining room table when my mom received word of the fire on the Conception. It affected all of us, of course, but the depth of my mom’s empathy — the anguish on her face and the sagging of her shoulders when she returned home after a day of talking to the crew and the press — was palpable.

In short, for the past four years, my mom, Joan Hartmann, has spent every waking moment pouring her heart and soul into Santa Barbara County. It’s now her constituents who benefit (and can benefit for another four years) from her diligence, her stamina, and her strength — as I have for my entire life.

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