Submitted by Robin Davies
CEO Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce does not endorse individual candidates for public office. We are, rather, a nonpartisan, non-political business organization that believes voters should be educated and informed about elections that affect day-to-day life here in Nevada County.
To that end, we have joined with the Nevada County Association of Realtors and Nevada County Contractors’ Association to co-host a forum on Wednesday evening, April 4th, featuring candidates for five nonpartisan county offices.

The members-only event will be held from 5:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at Esterly Hall in the NCAOR building, 336 Crown Point Circle, Grass Valley. Members, please join us at the reception from 5:30 to 6:00 then settle in for a lively evening moderated by Jon Katis, with KNCO broadcasting this important pre-election forum live.

Candidates invited:
• Dan Miller (incumbent) and Hilary Hodge (challenger) for Nevada County Board of Supervisors, District 3.
• Susan Hook (running unopposed) for Nevada County Board of Supervisors, District 2.
• John Foster, Shannan Moon, and Bill Smethers, candidates for Nevada County Sheriff.
• Cliff Newell (incumbent) and Glenn Jennings (challenger) for Nevada County District Attorney.
• Gregory Diaz (incumbent), Mary Anne Davis (challenger) and Elise Strickler (challenger) for Nevada County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters.

We encourage all GGVCC members to attend. And if you are not a Chamber member, nor a member of the NCAOR or NCCA, be sure to listen to the forum live on KNCO 830 AM.

Nevada County routinely has one of the highest voter-turnout percentages in the state, and that’s certainly appropriate considering that two former Nevada County pioneers were authors of constitutional amendments aimed at greater voter participation.

The final language of the 15th Amendment, ratified in 1870, was authored by former Nevada County District Attorney William Morris Stewart, then serving in the U. S. Senate from the State of Nevada. It guaranteed the right to vote, “regardless of race, color or previous condition of servitude.”
And in 1878, Nevada City resident Aaron Augustus Sargent (also a former Nevada County District Attorney) introduced a bill in the U. S. Senate whose exact words would, in 1920, be ratified as the 19th Amendment –– extending the right to vote, “regardless of sex.”

With the visionary words of senators Stewart and Sargent now part of the Constitution of the United States, it makes us the only county in the nation to have had two of its former citizens author constitutional amendments ensuring greater voting rights. That’s quite a legacy –– and one that deserves perpetuation. Let’s strive for the fullest turnout possible in June.

In addition to the members-only April 4th forum, the League of Women Voters of Western Nevada County will host an Election Forum Series, four candidate forums starting April 5th and continue each Thursday evening until April 26th.
The LWV forums –– free and open to the public –– will be held from 6:15 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. at the Eric W. Rood Administrative Center, off Highway 49, north of Nevada City.

The League will begin its series on April 5th by hosting candidates for Nevada County Clerk-Recorder and District Attorney. The following Thursday the LWV forum will feature candidates for District 1, House of Representatives, followed on April 19th with a chance for you to hear and question candidates for Nevada County Board of Supervisors, District 3.
The final forum, on April 26th, will offer the public an opportunity to hear from the three candidates running for Nevada County Sheriff.
Other organizations are expected to hold candidate forums in April and May as well, so we urge you to attend as many as possible and become an educated, informed voter. Our future will be shaped by the men and women we elect to public office, so your voice needs to be heard via the ballot box.

Whatever your party affiliation might be –– or your view of government in general –– be sure to vote. Election Day will be Tuesday, June 5, but some precincts will receive mail-only ballots. Also, if you prefer to vote by mail or perhaps vote early, please contact the county elections office at 265-1298 and they will guide you through the process.

And, if you have any questions about the April 4 candidate forum, or would like to RSVP, be sure to call the Chamber at 273-4667, or email [email protected]