Sawyer launches bid for Sonoma County supervisor

  • John Sawyer is running for Sonoma County Supervisor. September 21, 2011.

Santa Rosa City Councilman John Sawyer on Wednesday officially became a candidate for the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, running for the seat to be vacated by Valerie Brown.

Sawyer, 56, a former mayor and longtime Santa Rosa small-business owner, filed to run in the 1st District, which encompasses Sonoma Valley, Oakmont and much of east Santa Rosa.

In announcing his candidacy, Sawyer emphasized his "deep roots" in the Sonoma County community, beginning with great-grandparents who settled in Bennett Valley in the 1890s and planted vineyards.

Casting himself as the business-friendly candidate, he said he has made economic development his top priority without sacrificing environmental principles.

"We need to remove unnecessary impediments to attracting viable businesses to Sonoma County that touch on the environment lightly, provide good-paying jobs and grow our economy," he said.

Sawyer is expected to face opposition from one of his colleagues on the Santa Rosa council, Susan Gorin, who said late Wednesday she will probably make decision on whether to run "in the next week, or so."

Gorin, like Sawyer, also has served as mayor, but ideologically is seen as more liberal and pro-environment.

Other declared candidates include Mark Bramfitt, an energy consultant and board member on the Valley of the Moon Water District and Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission, and Gina Cuclis, a communications consultant and past Sonoma planning commissioner who lives in Boyes Hot Springs.

A wild card is state Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, who is considered a potential candidate. Bramfitt said last week he had split with political consultant Terry Price, a long-time Evans ally who indicated she was thinking about running for the seat. She could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Gorin said whether Evans decides to run "is a consideration for sure," particularly because of the state senator's strong name recognition.

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