On the second day of the New Year, Susan Epstein, a 13-year member of the Goleta Union School District's Board of Trustees, launched her campaign to run for Second District Supervisor of Santa Barbara County. Surrounded by about 20 supporters at the county elections office, where she filed papers to run, Epstein expressed enthusiasm and confidence. "My plan is to win in June," she said. Should a supervisorial candidate win more than 50 percent of the vote in the Primary Election, he or she wins the seat. Otherwise, the top two vote-getters will face off in the November Election.
Epstein, a Democrat, kicks off the race for the Second District, which spans the Goleta Valley and includes parts of the City of Santa Barbara. While others are rumored to contest her ― namely Santa Barbara City Councilmember Gregg Hart, who will be sworn in next week ― Epstein is currently unopposed. The filing deadline is March 14.
Epstein said she is running because she is "very concerned about the challenges the county faces," including creating fiscal stability, preserving coastlines, preparing for natural disasters, like drought and wildfires. "People have been asking me to run for several years," she said, adding her record of bringing locally sourced meals to Goleta schools and fixing infrastructure bodes well for her candidacy. The Goleta district has not gone to taxpayers to ask for a bond in a decade, she added.
Asked about her thoughts on the county's in-progress cannabis ordinance, Epstein expressed support of the current county supervisors' actions. She said they are taking a "cautious approach" by working to set a tax rate that is high enough to pay for enforcement but not too high to drive sales into the black market.
Democrats have a 23 percent advantage in the Second District. Home to 51,000 residents, the district has a roughly 50 percent voter turnout rate, about five percent higher than Santa Barbara County's as a whole.