Sonoma County Supervisor-elect Lynda Hopkins decries Trump election, sees call to action for board
Hours after Lynda Hopkins scored a clear victory in her race against Noreen Evans for a seat on the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, she awoke Wednesday at her Forestville home with a feeling of elation, but also a deep sense of gloom.
The shock election of Donald Trump as president Tuesday cast a dark cloud over Hopkins’ campaign celebration at La Fondita Mexican restaurant in Roseland. What remained Wednesday was profound distress, and a budding call to action.
“It has been a complete roller coaster of emotions,” Hopkins said Wednesday morning after making breakfast for her two young daughters. “I’m very honored to be assuming the 5th District supervisor seat in January, but at the same time, we’re going to be facing an administration at the national level that thinks climate change is a hoax. It’s a very chilling reality.”
Hopkins, who will succeed Supervisor Efren Carrillo, jumped to a wide lead on early returns Tuesday night and retained that advantage Wednesday in updated results including all precincts. Hopkins had 54 percent of the vote to Evans’ 46 percent, and though tens of thousands of ballots remain uncounted countywide, the untallied votes in the 5th District race are unlikely to change the outcome.
Evans, an attorney and former state legislator, called Hopkins on Wednesday morning to concede and congratulate Hopkins on her victory.
“I think she will do very well,” Evans said.
Hopkins, 33, an organic farmer who has never before held elected office, said Trump’s election spurred in her a greater sense of duty. The Board of Supervisors has a responsibility to more forcefully tackle initiatives that may not be a priority at the national level, such as addressing the effects of climate change, developing a countywide universal preschool program and launching an aggressive effort to build new low- and moderate-income housing, she said.
“In many ways, over the past eight years, supervisors have been lucky to have a receptive administration with (Barack) Obama,” Hopkins said. “Since last night, I’ve just been thinking a lot about where we went wrong on a national level, as progressives and as the Democratic Party. We failed to successfully motivate people, so now that puts a tremendous amount of pressure on us to address things like climate change and affordable housing because they seem unlikely to be dealt with on a larger level.”
In a Facebook message to her supporters, Hopkins echoed such themes and conveyed a broader message about safeguarding civil rights for all.
“This won’t be a news flash to women or people of color or members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, but for everyone else, heads-up y’all - sexism, racism and homophobia still exist in America today,” Hopkins wrote. “We have to admit that we have a problem with prejudice, even in the liberal oasis of Sonoma County.”
Hopkins said she was proud to become the first woman to hold the 5th District seat on the Board of Supervisors, and to comprise the first female majority of supervisors in the history of the county, along with Supervisors Shirlee Zane and Susan Gorin.
“It’s wonderful,” Zane said. “I am beyond excited to lead the first woman majority on the board in 166 years.”
Zane, who will be chairwoman of the board next year and therefore is largely charged with setting the agenda, welcomed Hopkins to her new post. She endorsed Evans in the race, but attended Hopkins’ election party Tuesday night.
“It’s about leadership,” Zane said. “I wanted to congratulate her as the incoming chair and as the senior person on the board. I think Lynda is an incredibly smart, educated and independently minded woman and I think she’ll do a great job.”
Hopkins said her top priorities next year are developing new housing for low-income and working-class residents, launching an affordable preschool program, investing in public infrastructure projects such as road repairs and strengthening environmental protections.
After Hopkins joins the board in January, supervisors are set to consider regulations governing groundwater extraction, winery development, event centers and marijuana cultivation.
Many of Hopkins’ priorities parallel county initiatives underway, Zane said.
“Noreen has wonderful experience and intelligence and a proven track record, but I also think Lynda will offer a fresh perspective and I think she’ll work really hard,” Zane said. “She cares passionately about things I believe this whole board cares about.”
Carrillo’s two-term tenure on the board will come to a close at the end of December.