Chris Howard announces candidacy for 3rd district

Regardless of the outcome of the June 3 election, Del Norte County's District 3 will get a new supervisor.

Current Supervisor Mike Sullivan, whose district includes Smith River, Hiouchi and Gasquet, said Friday he doesn't intend to run for a third term. Sullivan, who was elected in 2008, said he hopes his friend Chris Howard will succeed him.

Howard told the Triplicate on Thursday he intended to run for the post. He said he wants to strengthen business and tear down "regulatory red tape."

Sullivan said he is not seeking re-election due to increased business responsibilities as an Edward Jones financial advisor and a wish to spend more time with his 12-year-old son. He said he had always intended to serve two terms on the Board of Supervisors.

"He has that energy, intelligence and experience to step into the role of supervisor without a steep learning curve," Sullivan said, speaking of Howard, the only announced candidate. "He has the ability to continue to push forward with the county's community goals."

Sullivan said he started his tenure with the Board at the start of one of the worst recessions in modern history. Since then, the Board has worked hard to balance the county's budget. Even though staff members had to take unpaid furlough days, Sullivan noted that no one lost his or her job and employees even gained a cost-of-living raise this year.

"I appreciate the staff of the county," he said. "They made the job more enjoyable."

In the last eight years, Sullivan said, the Board of Supervisors and a host of other partners, including the Crescent City Council, the airport authority and harbor district, has made progress in several areas. The harbor is about to cut the ribbon on a tsunami-resistant facility, while the airport is moving forward with improvements to its runway safety areas, he said.

The Grants Pass to Crescent City broadband redundancy project is finished, completing a loop that includes Crescent City, Bandon, Roseburg and Grants Pass, Sullivan said. He also noted that the project to widen U.S. Highway 199 is fully funded.

"It involves a lot of staff work and a lot of partners ... the key thing is to push forward with those goals," he said.

Sullivan said one of the next key projects he sees is finding an alternate route around Last Chance Grade and helping the Border Coast Regional Airport Authority complete its runway safety area expansion as well as upgrades to its terminal.

Howard said Thursday that "Del Norte County has an amazing amount of potential, but it needs a gentle nudge. Businesses are struggling, good-paying jobs are harder to find and good friends are leaving the area."

Asked about the Jefferson state movement, Howard said he thinks the advocates are right that Del Norte is underrepresented in state government, but it shouldn't be up to the Board of Supervisors to vote on a declaration to withdraw from California.

"It needs to be the people's decision. Put it to a vote" he said. "I agree with how Tehama's approach. If it's passed as an advisory vote I'd be willing to support it."

Howard moved to Del Norte in 1994 to study spotted owls for Rellim Redwood and wound up in a fisheries position. Since then, he has been a wildlife survey coordinator for Green Diamond Resource Co. and director of public relations, economic development and environmental services for Elk Valley Rancheria. He is currently general manager for Alexandre EcoDairy Farms and has helped establish Alexandre Kids LLC, which focuses on organic eggs from grass-fed chickens.

Howard has also been involved in numerous community organizations including the Del Norte County Planning Commission and the Crescent City-Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau. He has also served on Caltrans' Native American Advisory Committee and the California Environmental Protection Agency Tribal Advisory Committee.

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