2024 Candidate Questionnaire Responses:
Eureka In January 2024, the Greater Eureka Chamber sent out a survey to all individuals running for Humboldt County Supervisor and State Assemblymember
who will appear on the Spring 2024 ballot in Humboldt County. The Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee informed the survey questions. It went out
via email three times to 13 candidates, of whom 11 responded. Responses were not edited in any way.
The survey included the following questions:
- How will you advocate for local businesses to help them navigate current financial challenges?
- How will you evaluate and leverage State and Federal initiatives and legislation to better support our local businesses and economy?
- How can we work together effectively to improve two-way communication between the Chamber, local businesses and local and State government to
ensure local business needs and priorities are met?
- The Greater Eureka Chamber recently polled our membership about a variety of issues impacting local businesses and organizations. We asked them
about their biggest concerns impacting their work, and what they want our Chamber to advocate for. Given this context, what are specific steps you
will take to address their top six priorities and concerns for the greater Eureka area, as follows?
a. Attracting and retaining businesses
b. Making healthcare more plentiful and accessible for local residents
c. Expanding access to affordable and market-rate housing
d. Addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness, including access to housing, mental health care, drug treatment, and creating a safer
community for all
e. Supporting a healthy tourism ecosystem
f. Streamlining business processes with local government
Sincere thanks to all the respondents who completed the survey. We hope it will help inform voting decisions for people in Humboldt County
Humboldt County Supervisor 1st District
Rex Bohn (Incumbent)
- As your Supervisor, I will continue to support funding allocations that support local businesses such as the Economic Development Department, Chambers of Commerce, Arcata Economic Development Corporation, Redwood Region Economic Development Commission, and other nonprofits. In addition, as a person who has worked my entire life (prior to serving as your Supervisor) in small and family owned businesses, I understand the difficulties and challenges of running a business through changes in the market. I am a constant advocate to “buy local” which is a huge component for local success. I’ve pushed for our own county purchasing policies to support local goods.
- As the longest serving Supervisor, I’m currently honored to be serving in leadership roles with both Rural Counties Representing California (RCRC) and the National Association of Counties Organization (NACO). Through NACO I currently serve as the Chair of the Rural Action Caucus. These positions allow me to participate and influence state and national legislation that looks out for Humboldt’s rural interests, and particularly our rural economic development. More specifically, the Board of Supervisors, RCRC and NACO support or oppose various legislation that helps or harms small business.
- My door is always open. If I am invited to a meeting, there is a safe bet that I am going to attend. If there are issues that you see on our agenda that are important to you, contact me, send an email, or make a phone call. Being available and out in my district is my highest priority.
- Top priorities for Chamber members:
a. Retaining our existing businesses is paramount. I’ll continue advocating for and supporting access to financial assistance programs (RRDEC, AEDC, and others), offering a lifeline to businesses facing economic challenges. Working closely with county departments responsible for business licensure, I continue to champion efforts to streamline the licensure process. Keeping our infrastructure robust, I’ll ensure the maintenance of county roads that provide crucial access to businesses. Investing in quality-of-life enhancements such as parks, ballfields, and community forests not only attracts residents but also contributes to the overall appeal of our region for businesses.
Collaborating with Cal Poly Humboldt and College of the Redwoods workforce development programs, I’ll support initiatives that prepare our
workforce for the evolving needs of businesses in the region. Businesses such as offshore wind, solar, fiber, fish, forest and agriculture. I am
dedicated to supporting the development of fiber-optic lines to bring high-speed internet throughout rural Humboldt, essential for businesses to compete and innovate in a digital age. Supporting the efforts of Chambers and Main Street Associations is crucial; these organizations play a pivotal role in boosting community events that not only enrich our local culture but also attract visitors and customers.
While recognizing the importance of attracting new businesses, my primary focus remains on nurturing and retaining existing businesses that form the backbone of our community. By fortifying the foundations, we ensure the sustained growth and prosperity of Humboldt County. I was instrumental in creating the position of Economic Development Director in Humboldt County government which has been charged with creating positive and innovative growth throughout the County. And I will continue to support and work with the Economic Development Department as needed.
b. Health care: Affordable healthcare are statewide and national issues. Locally, as your Supervisor, I work to ensure there are open lines of
communication between our service providers at Providence, Mad River, and Open Door, as well as ensuring that county employees with the
Department of Health and Human Services are able to provide for our community.
c. Affordable and Market Rate Housing: To expand our affordable and market rate housing, we need to ensure local contractors can build projects that will serve the community’s needs. As was said, in the Field of Dreams, if you build it, they will come. We need to continually work to streamline housing development, while simultaneously working with our community to allow new housing near them.
d. Homelessness & Mental Health: Again, these are statewide and national issues. Even in more affluent communities, they are struggling with how to fund and provide services for the homeless, provide drug treatment centers, and appropriate mental health services. Our Department of Health and Human Services alone has close to 300 employees dedicated to adult mental health. The variety of programs implemented are making a difference in homelessness population. The community may not see the subtle small steps, but they are happening and will continue to happen.
e. Tourism: As your supervisor, I am committed to continuing our investment of the Transient Occupancy Tax dollars with our local tourism partners including the Chambers, County Destination Marketing Organization, and working with Humboldt Lodging Alliance to bolster local marketing efforts. In addition, by supporting local businesses that provide the experiences desired by visitors, ensuring our community is as clean and safe as possible, and that there is increased access to many of the tourism assets found in our community, we can support a healthy tourism ecosystem.
f. Streamlining business process: We live in California, which is not an easy place to do business in, and that trickles down to Humboldt. It seems that every year there are hundreds of new laws added, and very few are taken away. Within the county, we’re working to develop sensible regulations that protect neighbors and the environment, without becoming overly cumbersome such that entrepreneurship is squashed.
Humboldt County Supervisor 1st District
- The current local recession is challenging, but collaborative efforts can help businesses thrive. One major aspect of my plan involves the construction of more low-income housing. Many individuals in our area qualify for such housing, enabling them to allocate more funds monthly to support local businesses.
- Connectivity is a significant issue, and to remain competitive, we must establish high-speed internet access. Constructing the next generation of universally accessible high-speed internet is crucial. Additionally, considering the future, there are grants and incentives available for areas affected by climate change. As a coastal community, we need advocates in local government to champion the interests of our businesses and communities.
- Effective communication is vital in any work environment. Advocating for issues requires more avenues beyond a passive “my door is always open” approach. Personally engaging with individuals has given me insight into the challenges faced by business owners, enabling me to advocate for local businesses at both the local and state levels.
- Top priorities for Chamber members:
a. To facilitate business initiation, we must reduce start-up costs. Moreover, emphasizing the utilization of local businesses for government contracts is essential to help maintain and grow our local economy.
b. Prioritizing healthcare, I aim to expedite the recruitment of qualified professionals, reinvest in local nonprofit healthcare services, and reduce costs through shelter provisions.
c. While focusing on housing, I believe that non-market housing is the long-term strategy to benefit the majority. Government involvement should complement rather than compete with the market.
d. Combatting homelessness requires a multifaceted approach involving shelter provision, low-income housing, and safe parking options as top priorities.
e. Our picturesque locale attracts global visitors, contributing millions to our economy. We must strategically allocate county tax dollars to maximize the impact of tourism promotion.
f. Simplifying business procedures is crucial for success. Encouraging aspiring entrepreneurs to start with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a proactive step toward overcoming obstacles.