Candidate talks about crime and economy
Editor’s note: This is part of a series on local candidates in advance of the Nov. 8 general election.
Steven Funkhouser wants to tackle the challenges of rising crime rates, homelessness and the lack of good-paying jobs.
Those are among the reasons he’s running for the District 3 seat of the Santa Maria City Council against incumbent Gloria Soto.
“My family has lived in the Santa Maria Valley for six generations,” Mr. Funkhouser told the News-Press. “From union sugar and the strawberry fields to owning and operating a small business, I know there is no better place to live, work and raise a family.
“However, rising crime rates, homelessness and the lack of good-paying jobs are making it difficult for our city to reach its full potential,” he said. “I know we can do better.
“I’ve dedicated my life and career to our community as a volunteer, youth mentor and small business owner,” Mr. Funkhouser said. “It is this experience coupled with my overall passion for the city of Santa Maria that has underlined my decision to take my desire to serve one step further and run for city council.”
Mr. Funkhouser explained how his career has prepared him for Santa Maria City Council.
“As a city councilmember, your top priorities should always be the safety and well-being of your constituents,” he said. “I’m a long-time board member for Fighting Back Santa Maria and chairman of the Elks Youth Program. The Santa Maria Police Officers’ Association has endorsed my campaign because they know I’m the only candidate in this race committed to providing our men and women in uniform with the resources needed to protect our community and fight rising crime rates.
“Additionally, this position is all about serving those you represent, and service is something in which I’m extremely familiar,” Mr. Funkhouser said. “As a small business owner and human resources specialist, I’ve dedicated my professional career to serving my customers and protecting my colleagues. This is exactly what I plan to do when I am elected to the council.”
Mr. Funkhouser’s goals include working with public safety leaders to decrease crime and keep families safe, and addressing homelessness and mental health issues through regional collaboration. He added he wants to improve recreational facilities to accommodate the needs of a growing community.
And Mr. Funkhouser said he wants to support job opportunities by attracting new employers and incentivizing small business expansion.
“Santa Maria is the fastest-growing community in Santa Barbara County, and this growth has been accompanied by issues: specifically crime,” Mr. Funkhouser said. “Rural crime, murder rates, robberies and assaults are far above the national average, and my opponent has aligned herself with the ‘defund the police’ movement while voting against common-sense reforms that would have made our city a safer place for all residents.
“These actions are contrary to the primary role of government and an elected representative,” Mr. Funkhouser said. “Our safety will always be my top priority.”
“I am running for Santa Maria City Council because I want to further my commitment to a city that I have, and will always, call home,” Mr. Funkhouser said. “I have no desire to use this position as an opportunity to run for higher office.
“I want to protect and embrace the history and culture of our region and increase economic opportunities for working-class families.”