The Times-Standard asked Virginia “what is the most common criticism that you hear about your candidacy?”
“I would say it is a tie between “she’s the big money candidate” and “she’s been in office too long.”
We couldn’t agree with the public more!
There’s a choice:
Dani Burkhart is a challenger in the race for 4th District Humboldt County supervisor. She is running against two-term incumbent Virginia Bass
Q. Why should the 4th District elect you for the position rather than your challenger and the current incumbent?
A. Rather than throwing money at quick fixes, I believe it is time to rededicate efforts toward comprehensive solutions. I am calling for a forensic audit of the county’s finances to identify sources of waste that can be redirected toward existing programs and facilities that are underfunded and in disrepair. We deserve leadership with an open door policy, proactive communication, and transparent decision making. We deserve the right to know that policies and appointments are carried out for the whole population, not just a select few. I bring my experience working with local and state government on economic and cannabis policy, my knowledge of environmental science and my dedication to our community to the table. We need a leader who lives their values through their daily actions, and whose official appointments reflect the values of the community as a whole. I am that leader and I take very seriously my commitment to policy for the people and holding our elected representatives accountable.
You can find out more about my plan for the 4th District at Dani4Supervisor. com
Q. For you, what are the most significant issues in Humboldt County, and how would you work to address them if elected?
A. While there are many goals and priorities I would like to accomplish while in office, here are my top three:
- Affordable and accessible housing: Affordable housing is one of the greatest challenges facing our community. I will support appropriate developments that make housing accessible to members of our community. I support diverse solutions to the Humboldt County’s housing crisis such as designating villages with consolidated services to get folks out of business stoops and stabilize our community, and addressing housing density restrictions.
- Responsible Jobs and Projects Plan: I will support infrastructure investments that will bring economic development to the county. These include tackling deferred maintenance of our road systems and improvements to broadband internet access.
- Transparency and accountability: I commit to having an open door policy and working with the community as a whole in the decision-making process to implement long-term solutions for a resilient Humboldt. We need a forensic audit to ensure that waste, and potential abuse, of funds, is identified and put back to work for the residents of the county. We also need leadership that thoroughly vets their appointments to avoid costly litigation against the county.
Q What are the top issues specific to your district and how would you address those if elected? Do you feel these issues have been adequately addressed by the incumbent? Why or why not?
A. I believe the housing crisis, economic development, and drug addiction are the some of the larger challenges facing the district. These are multi-faceted issues that will take diverse solutions. I believe the answers we’re seeking to many of our issues will come as a result of building a resilient economy and community.
Potential solutions include: a sanctioned and monitored area with toilet and trash facilities, life and job skills training, addressing development of housing units and living wage jobs. The district needs an expansion in access for mental health and addiction care, there aren’t enough beds in programs for those who need it and virtually no programs for teens facing addiction. If we can create avenues for breaking the cycle of poverty and addiction, then we create community resiliency which benefits all of our residents.
These problems aren’t new for the district. The incumbent has been in office for nearly eight years now, and served on city council before that. It took two years to declare a shelter crisis, we’ve had an unqualified public defender that saw to loss of nearly an entire department of staff and public defenders, and now this debacle with Bass’ appointee to the planning commission.
Q What is the most common criticism that you hear about your candidacy, and what is your response to that criticism?
A. It’s a toss-up between my age and the fact that I’ve been labeled a “cannabis candidate.”
For the record, I am 31, which is about the same age Sen. McGuire was when he was first elected to represent the North Coast. Many other leaders locally, nationally and internationally have been elected in their early 30s, and we have seen great things come from their representation. Experience doesn’t just come with age, it comes with the actions we take and the knowledge we pursue.
I am recognized as an expert in my field for my knowledge and experience working with various state and local agencies, officials and businesses to address regulating an industry that has operated in a gray area for over 20 years. I have been interviewed by Rolling Stone, news outlets, public radio shows, and state agencies such as the EDD, CDFA, and BCC; bridging between Humboldt’s experience and what the rest of the country/ state are facing. I have studied the economic impacts of regulating industries brought out of prohibition, and the tools used in the past for successful regulation. My experience with the cannabis industry is an asset in the times we currently face as a county.
Q. Why do you want to represent the 4th District and what qualifications do you have that would allow you to proficiently do so?
A. I love this community and I want to work towards a resilient future for Humboldt County. I will take my experience in community building and policy, and put it to work for the good of our whole county. I will stand for the rights of our community to be involved in our governance, and I will have an open door; engaging with the community in identifying long-term solutions. I believe that this county is capable of great potential when we build the bridges in our community and have accountable leaders with that vision.
As an environmental planning consultant, I regularly communicate with county and state agencies, and business owners to navigate the permitting process and negotiate agreements that help protect our natural resources and our small businesses. As a nationally recognized expert on the cannabis industry and its effects on rural economic development, I participated in the latest update to the Humboldt County Economic Development Strategy which shapes local and regional policy. I have organized and led guided tours for state officials such as: Lt. Gov.Newsom, Rep. Huffman, Assemblymember Wood, Sen. McGuire, reconciling the reality we face, and the vision of the state of California.
From the Times-Standard