Valenzuela plans to get out and knock on doors to connect with his constituents over the next few months, although he feels he's already well connected to the Mount Shasta and Dunsmuir communities and regularly visits those he represents.

Ed Valenzuela said he won’t start campaigning for reelection as District 2 supervisor until after the holidays. But starting in the new year, he’ll begin thinking about the March 3 election, when he’ll face Mount Shasta Planning Commissioner Paul Beck to represent Dunsmuir and Mount Shasta City on the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors.

Valenzuela has been reelected three times after defeating Jim Hardy to replace Supervisor LaVada Erickson when she retired in 2009.

Valenzuela said he’d like to continue the work he’s done for his constituents, and added that the county is currently facing several pressing issues. For example, the board is in the midst of a searching for a new CAO with the impending retirement of Terry Barber. The county is also in need of other talent, including a community development director for the planning department, Valenzuela said.

Negotiating with various bargaining units to come up with agreements for wages and benefits with county workers is another major issue facing the board right now, he said.

Valenzuela was recently elected Second Vice President of the California State Association of Counties, a statewide organization representing all 58 counties. He was elected to the position by his peers, Valenzuela said, and he believes his experience with CASC allows him to be “ahead of the curve” with issues at the state level that may affect Siskiyou County. Among those topics: homelessness, mental health, the expansion of IHSS, affordable housing, and the impact of the Supreme Court’s recent decision not to hear an appeal of the Martin vs. City of Boise decision, which will impact how cities may address camping on public property.

Valenzuela said it’s important to him to assist those who are on the verge of homelessness, such as people who may lose a job or have a vehicle break down without a safety net to keep them afloat.

Another important issue facing the county – and District 2 in particular – is fire safety, said Valenzuela.

“We dodged a big bullet with the Shasta County fires last year that raced up the canyon,” he said.

Awareness of what the county, state, and individuals need to do to be wildfire safe is something Valenzuela wants to concentrate on in 2020, as well as the expansion of a green waste program that will allow residents to get rid of trimmings and other flammable materials free of charge at the transfer station.

“I hope to expand (the program) and create a viable plan to help it be sustainable,” he said.

Before being elected to the board of supervisors in 2008, Valenzuela spent two terms on the Mount Shasta City Council and a short time on the Mount Shasta Planning Commission.

Valenzuela’s interest in local government began before he started getting involved at the leadership level. Wherever his job as an AT&T technician took him, he would attend city council meetings there. “I wanted to set an example for my children to look outside of themselves,” he said.

When his job brought him to Mount Shasta with his wife, Barbara and two kids in 1998, Valenzuela said he achieved his lifelong dream of being able to walk to and from work. He retired from his “day job” with AT&T after 32 years in 2010.

Valenzuela said he won’t hand out campaign signs until after Christmas and he doesn’t want discussion of politics to taint the holiday season. He plans to get out and knock on doors to connect with his constituents over the next few months, although he feels he’s already well connected to the Mount Shasta and Dunsmuir communities and regularly visits those he represents.

The Siskiyou Daily News will run profiles of all Supervisoral candidates in the upcoming weeks. They include Valenzuela’s opponent Beck; as well as District 4 candidates Catherine Gilbert and Nancy Ogren; and District 1 incumbent Brandon Criss (see page A3) and his opponent Angelina Cook.