Eureka, Ca., (KIEM)- In a room filled with food and flowers, an educator, incumbent, and HSU graduate went head to head. They talked about economics, the dissolved railroad authority, homelessness, and sanctuary counties. Each answering the same questions posed by the audience. These women are Virginia Bass, Mary Anne Lyons, and Dani Burkhart. They are vying for the same seat on the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors. Holding tightly to the microphone and raising their points above the din of shifting plates and clinking cutlery, hoping to represent District Four in the governing body.
Monday afternoon at the Eureka Elk’s Lodge the League of Women Voters hosted an open candidate forum. An opportunity for the community to meet their candidates. The event is perfectly in keeping with the non-partisan group’s mission to educate voters, and encourage political engagement. The same amount of time was allotted to each speaker, questions taken by all three candidates where written out by audience members.
As for the candidates? Their backgrounds seemed to shine through in the points they made.
Burkhart has a degree in economics. She says it’s time Humboldt County puts aside its reliance on “boom and bust” industry. Her other degree is in environmental science. She pointed out also her distaste for the proposed Mercer-Fraser cannabis processing facility in the county (that has been a pivotal point of controversy county wide). Lyons also took a firm stand against the Mercer-Fraser project, stating bluntly that Humboldt County’s natural resources are dwindling.
Lyons is an educator. She discussed the value of bringing teachers to the economy, and the importance of training the work force to take on skilled labor jobs (things like painting and plumbing).
Bass has worked in both city and county government. Already the District 4 supervisor, she brings experience to the table. She says a lack of sufficient, affordable housing for professionals keeps teachers and doctors from the county. Busting through the ‘redwood curtain’ with more air service, she asserts will also be a way to energize the economy.
The three will be corralled again for a candidate forum in May, for a televised event on PBS North Coast, Channel 13.