Board of Supervisors member seeks new 37th District seat
When Gregg Hart saw the new census open up a seat on the California State Assembly in his district, he was intrigued — enough that he’d leave his spot on the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors.
Supervisor Hart, running in the 37th Assembly District race as a Democrat, told the News-Press the decision to run has been one of the hardest he’s made.
“I’ve been working through the decision-making process because I really enjoy working for the community as a supervisor,” he said Thursday, getting sentimental about the “great individuals” he works with in the role.
Sitting prominently behind lacquered desks, the supervisors have defended county health officials from brazen comments and watched Fourth District Supervisor Bob Nelson get emotional while he turned the chair position over to Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann.
Mr. Hart said he loves that role. He was particularly proud when the county helped environmentalists purchase San Marcos Preserve in the foothills of Santa Barbara.
His zeal for nature led to the creation of Measure B during his time on Santa Barbara City Council — a 2% bed tax that is dedicated to the Creeks Restoration and Water Quality Improvement Program.
He continues to keep climate change in mind as he crafts policy, and sustainability is part of his platform. His other priorities include: increasing educational opportunities, reducing homelessness and preparing for emergencies.
“All the issues that I’m working very hard to address in Santa Barbara County have a parallel in Sacramento,” Mr. Hart said.
Supervisor Hart’s political career began almost 40 years ago, when he was a student at UCSB. He met Jack O’Connell, an educator turned assemblyman, and later served as his legislative assistant.
“He was a tremendous mentor, still is,” Mr. Hart said. “He was known for wearing out shoes, knocking on doors. I’ve probably knocked on more doors than any other Santa Barbara County employee.”
Other candidates for the new Assembly seat include Jonathan Abboud, a Santa Barbara City College trustee and co-founder/general manager of Isla Vista Community Services District, and Gabe Escobedo, vice chair of the Santa Barbara Planning Commission.
The primary election is June 6. The top two candidates will go head to head in the Nov. 8 runoff election.
“I have such a wealth of local gov experience that I’ll be bringing this responsibility,” Mr. Hart told the News-Press. “My values are rooted in local government. That voice is needed in Sacramento.”
He said Steve Bennett is doing well. Mr. Bennett, a former Ventura County supervisor who currently represents parts of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties in the Assembly, will be running for the newly formed 38th District spot.
Supervisor Hart’s campaign can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.