ARROYO GRANDE, Calif. – Three candidates are running for Arroyo Grande mayor: Caren Ray Russom, Gaea Powell, and Dale Hanson.
Russom seeks re-election and says her experience makes her stand out from the other two candidates.
The current mayor said she has many priorities; the top one is water.
“We need to expand our supply,” said Russom. “We are- I am working diligently on either way to do that.”
Gaea Powell is an Executive Director at Pathways to Health in Pismo Beach and said she has political experience.
Powell was the former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Chief of Staff during his campaign.
If Powell becomes mayor, she said she would prioritize homelessness and infrastructure.
“I really believe that there is a missed opportunity in Arroyo Grande,” said Powell. “I believe that it should be a tourist destination.”
Dale Hanson is a retired Vietnam War veteran and said he would focus on water shortages if he became mayor.
Hanson said he wants to utilize Diablo Canyon's Desalination Plant.
“And all five cities basically put all letters about this. It's been six years of not utilizing that water,” said Hanson.
Arroyo Grande is dealing with issues like infrastructure, lack of water, and homelessness in the town.
The three candidates explained the importance of those topics.
“We can plan for the pavement. We can especially work regionally with our partners and what we do on homelessness,” said Russom.” “So which is not to say those aren't important issues, but water is one that is being questioned because you just never know what the future holds.”
“They're all equally important. I drive you home, you know, daily. I see the encampment that's getting bigger and bigger and grow over,” said Powell. “So obviously, that, you know, affects the Arroyo Grande, and that's a huge issue. And that takes state, federal, local, everybody collaborates.”
“Actually, I spoke with the chief of police, and he's taken a very proactive position. He's basically educated his officers not to be kicking the can down the road if you will,” said Hanson. “But to work with the homeless, and help them. If they see someone struggling on the street. Get them the resources. get them out.”
Each candidate expressed what the community would get if elected mayor.
“A vote for me is a vote for the community of Arroyo Grande,” said Russom.
“Freedom,” said Powell.
“A vote for me, is a vote for change,” said Hanson.
Whoever wins in November will be Arroyo Grande's mayor for the next two years.