Former California Secretary of State Bruce McPherson, Boulder Creek contractor and community activist Eric Hammer and Lompico resident and civil engineer Bill Smallman are actively seeking support in the race.
As the McPherson and Hammer campaigns gathered momentum over the past several weeks, Susan Weber, John Abel and George Wylie all withdrew, leaving only Smallman to keep it a three-person race.
Smallman said he would continue his bid, despite facing what he admitted was an uphill battle against Hammer and McPherson — and against the endorsements and name recognition both men enjoy.
“It’s kind of discouraging,” Smallman said. “I want to get elected because of my qualifications and my message, rather than name recognition.”
Smallman, who is running on a campaign platform that promotes a balance of environmentalism and economic growth, said it had been a challenge to find ways to get his message out to voters.
“This is the first time I’ve ever run for something this big,” he said. “I don’t have a lot of people working for me.”
Smallman, a Lompico Water District board member, recently posted a YouTube video in which he elaborated some of the specific goals he hoped to accomplish if elected.
He said he also planned to canvass neighborhoods, put up campaign signs and host meet-and-greet gatherings in Felton, Ben Lomond and Scotts Valley.
“I’m trying to convey exactly what I would do if I got elected,” Smallman said.
To start, he said he would work to develop established businesses in the county, as well as encourage entrepreneurs and start-ups.
As supervisor, he hopes to inaugurate what he calls a Board of Economic Development, a county-run entity that would serve as something of a countywide chamber of commerce to encourage and entice business and promote networking and education.
His board, he said, would be similar to a system in use in Sonoma County, with one or two representatives from each of the five districts. It would replace the existing Workforce Investment Board, costing the county nothing extra, he said.
“I started out getting into politics as an environmentalist,” Smallman said. “We need to make sure there’s still some economic opportunity -— it’s a fine line to walk.”
Smallman said that his 20 years working as a civil engineer, coupled with his tenure on the Lompico water board, made him a logical choice for the 5th District, particularly concerning roads and infrastructure.
He explained that he would prefer the county’s public works department to focus on road maintenance — such as patching cracks to prevent erosion — before completing expensive projects, such as the ongoing widening of Graham Hill Road in Felton.
“The one big concern is the roads,” he said. “We’re digging ourselves a money pit if we don’t.”
Smallman said he would also work to streamline the building permit process, something he said would be beneficial to residents and businesses alike.
“I feel like I’m the best candidate for infrastructure,” he said. “I think it would be helpful to have someone on the board with my kind of experience.”
At a glance
Bill Smallman, candidate for 5th District, Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors: www.billsmallman.com