Crandell formally announces candidacy for District 3 supervisor

Posted On Wednesday, 14 March 2018 18:35
14 March 2018
E.J. Crandell. Photo courtesy of Robinson Rancheria.

NICE, Calif. – A local tribal leader on Wednesday made the formal announcement of his candidacy for District 3 supervisor.

E.J. Crandell, tribal chair since 2014 of Robinson Rancheria, said he is joining the race.

Crandell said he firmed up his decision to run for the District 3 seat on the Lake County Board of Supervisors on Friday, March 9.

The primary election is June 5.

Incumbent Supervisor Jim Steele is not running for reelection.

Businesswoman Denise Loustalot previously announced her candidacy for the District 3 seat in February, as Lake County News has reported ( attr(href) ).

"With the news that Supervisor Jim Steele will not seek reelection, I respectfully ask the people of Lake County’s Third District to consider my qualifications and background to serve as their next representative on the county Board of Supervisors," Crandell said.

Known as "E.J.," Crandell is a long-time resident of District 3 with ancestral ties to Lake County. He attended Lucerne Elementary and Upper Lake High, where his son is currently enrolled, playing high school football and baseball. He’s volunteered his time coaching both sports.

After graduating high school Crandell served his country in the United States Army as a phase team sergeant. He was deployed to Qayyarah West, Iraq, in Operation Iraqi Freedom with the "Screaming Eagles" of the 101st Aviation Airborne Division. He served eight years and was honorably discharged in 2006.

"My roots run very deep, I am firmly committed to the well being of our District 3 communities and the county," he said. "I grew up in this district and am intimately familiar with the hopes and dreams of many of the people who make their homes in the largest of all five districts in the county."

There are five distinct towns – Upper Lake, Nice, Lucerne, Glen Haven and Clearlake Oaks – that line the North Shore as well as the three off-highway communities of Spring Valley, Lake Pillsbury and Blue Lakes.

"It’s a big job, something I’ve come to more fully appreciate while serving as Lake County’s planning commissioner for District 3," Crandell said.

"I have a sound grasp of the land use issues that are such an important part of our future. There’s so much to consider – from the management of cannabis, to zoning requirements that impact our ancient and beautiful lake, to the neighborhood protections so vital to our children and the elderly – proper land use decisions are imperative to our quality of life," he said.

"The experience I gained as planning commissioner will give depth to understanding issues in front of the Board of Supervisors," he added.

As tribal chair of the Robinson Band of Pomo Indians, Crandell brings a unique experience and skill set to the table. He’s had the rare experience of observing and working in both tribal and local governments.

"There are differences and nuances to consider. Most importantly, it is through positive working relationships that the tough work gets done. If I am elected, my relationships with local leaders will serve the community well. Working closely with County leaders on inter-governmental relations, I have supported activities that benefit the broader community. My leadership approach is inclusive, every voice matters and no effort is too small," he said.

A big fan of nonprofit organizations, Crandell said, "Volunteer organizations are worth their weight in gold, it’s important to support them whenever possible. Recently we hosted two new non-profits, 100 Women Strong and the first annual Senior Summit."

His leadership skills have been tested in a unique way. "One of my proudest moments as tribal chair was our decision to reenroll members who were cast out under prior council leadership. This was a long journey of meetings and discussions with a fair and just outcome," he said.

Also under his leadership the Robinson Rancheria tribe paid $4,158,265 in debt due to prior mismanagement. Currently, he supervises a workforce of 355 employees, a mix of tribal and non-tribal members. "The need for jobs in our impoverished communities is great and I am proud we can provide opportunities," he said.

His priorities have been shaped by the teachings of a sacrosanct model that respects the wisdom of the generations that came before and looks with vision several generations ahead.

"As supervisor, my priorities and actions will be guided by the responsibility we bear as citizens to take care of the most vulnerable in our communities while ensuring a sustainable economic framework to meet those responsibilities," Crandell said.

Crandell believes the unused buildings and ample natural resources along the heavily traveled Northshore highway are the path to more vibrant and healthy communities. "One of my priorities will be to work towards friendlier leasing and building terms to open the door to more businesses and tap the entrepreneurial spirit of our communities," he said. "Revitalizing Lake County as a destination economy is key to our success."

Clear Lake will be a focus for Crandell. As a longtime resident of the county and Pomo native, the lake has a unique value to him. "With sadness I have watched neglectful land practices that have harmed our lake and ultimately factored heavily in our economic instability," he said.

"We can’t afford to dismiss the importance of the lake to our economic recovery. Thanks to the recent efforts of Supervisor Steele and other leaders there is hope. I will monitor carefully the promise of new money that has been made by our legislators and State Agency representatives as well as the implementation of management practices so vital to the lake’s recovery," he said.

Another key area of focus is Lake County’s fire prone landscape. "Continuing the work of Supervisor Steele, I’ll be working closely with local fire districts to identify resources and implement methods to make our communities more fire resistant. I am also going to make it a priority to follow up on the hard lessons of the terrible fire years we’ve experienced. It is vital to ensure our emergency planning is up to date and that all residents have access to important, potentially life-saving information," he said.

Crandell earned an AA degree in 2004 from American Intercontinental University. He is a few units shy of achieving a BA degree and plans to squeeze in the time to complete his degree.

To help launch his campaign, Crandell has formed a diverse, talented and dedicated committee of friends and family.

A campaign kick-off event is scheduled for April 8; details will soon follow.

In the meantime the community is invited to meet Crandell at the Elders Native Craft Fair on Saturday, March 17, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Robinson Rancheria Conference Center, 1545 E. Highway 20, in Nice.

"There is much work to be done and I welcome your ideas and support," Crandell said. "Drop by on Saturday, if you can, I’d love to meet you."
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