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Meet the candidates for Santa Cruz District Four Supervisor

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION)- The race for Santa Cruz County District Four Supervisor is
officially underway.

In less than a month communities on the central coast community will have their say for who will best serve the Watsonville and the greater Pajaro valley areas. Three candidates in total, Jimmy Dutra, Ed Acosta, and Felipe Hernandez are all hoping to be the next county supervisor for district four of Santa Cruz.

The housing crisis is an issue nationwide, but it’s one affecting us here at home as well. Candidate Felipe Hernandez feels first hand that he can help bring creative solutions to the people of the area. He feels helping house those who live in the small town is a goal he has.

“One of the one of the reasons that housing is so important here in South County is that we have families that have been here for generations and they're being priced out and pushed out of our community,” said Hernandez.

Financial stability along with a work commute is something many workers succumb to do. Having affordable housing in arms reach is a goal Hernandez sees in the future if elected.

“It’s making sure that we have housing for people here in South County, not just South County, but the entire county. We need housing in the cities of Scotts Valley, Capitola, Santa Cruz and Watsonville and all the unincorporated areas, too."

Homelessness is an ongoing issue for the region and has been for many years. Candidate Jimmy Dutra feels that it starts at the top to assist with programs to help these individuals.

“Homelessness is rising. And a lot of a lot of the people that we do see on the streets either deal with addiction or mental health or a combination of both. So we need to make sure we tackle those issues with the people that are, you know, suffering from them. And so that way we can address homelessness without having to continue to put a band aid on it,” said Dutra.

And challenges from the pandemic are still prevalent in this area. Many saw first hand what it did to the homeless community, but for those housed as well. Simple things like access to internet is a basic need still out of reach for residents. Candidate Dutra expresses that internet is a basic need.

“I want to make sure that that funding for our roads and our infrastructure get down here. I also want to make sure that we continue to improve our broadband so that our students and families down here can have access to the Internet."

Another question many are asking, could we ever see a rail system on the central coast? Many in South County suffer from an outdated transportation system.

“I'm the only candidate that's running that supports the rail and trail and opposes the measure that proposes to rail, bank and pull out the tracks. Because I think that that's an important asset that we have. But we have those tracks that use them. Let's build it, build a trail along side of it so that we have active transportation and we have an alternative sustainable transportation with the electric train,” said Hernandez.

Overall, both candidates have a vision. To make everyday life easier for the people they serve. Both are looking to you for your vote, a vote that determines not only your future but theirs as well.

“I just want the community to know that I really, really I love Watsonville, I love south county, I love the Pajaro Valley. I was born and raised here. I attended local schools and I went off to college and I got my master's and came back. I came back home because I wanted to make a difference,” Dutra.

“Well, I think that one of the biggest things is that when it comes to representing representation and when it comes to representing the county, I think that I have valuable relationships that I've built upon my nine years on the city council and a couple of years on the on the Capitol College Board of Trustees,” Hernandez.

We reached out to Ed Acosta for his input on his campaign but did not receive an answer for the interview.

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Taryn Mitchell

Taryn Mitchell is a weekend anchor and multimedia journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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