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San Benito County’s District 1 Supervisor seat will be decided in the March 5 election, with incumbent Dom Zanger facing off against challengers Stacie McGrady and Dustin Weber.

Since being elected as one of the county’s youngest supervisors in 2022, Zanger has advocated for infrastructure investment and has opposed residential development that would turn San Benito County into a “suburban sprawl.” Zanger was elected to complete the four-year term started by former Supervisor Mark Medina, who resigned in 2021. 

Stacie McGrady is a retired law enforcement officer, having served as detective sergeant for the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office. She hopes to bring her experience in public service to steer District 1 into being more “effective and efficient.”

Dustin Weber is a legal advisor with over two decades of experience in the public and private sector. He was formerly an aide for California 18th District representative Zoe Lofgren. Weber says he is passionate about healthcare issues in the county.

The Free Lance sent a list of questions to both candidates regarding pressing issues in San Benito County. Over the coming weeks, the Free Lance will pose similar questions to candidates in additional local races on the March 5 ballot and publish their responses in the newspaper and on our website. 

Read the District 1 candidates’ responses below.

Stacie McGrady

Why are you running for County Supervisor?

 I have the most experience, training, ability, and am the most qualified candidate to serve San Benito County. I have been involved in the community through 4-H and FFA, the Opioid Task Force, the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team, the Community Food Bank and as part of the Civil Grand Jury. I am dedicated to community service, and the privilege to serve at the Supervisors level will give me a greater opportunity for a more meaningful impact.  

What do you think will be the most pressing needs for San Benito County over the next four years, and how would you address these needs as a supervisor?

The quality of the roads, and the need to improve major traffic corridors throughout the county. The county is struggling daily to manage an overly stressed and understaffed organization. San Benito County continues to be one of the fastest growing communities in the region. These population increases, and that of our senior population, will place increased demands on public safety resources of fire, law and EMS. Healthcare resources will be impacted if meaningful improvements are not implemented now.  

What are your thoughts on how the county should address the increasing demand for residential and commercial growth here? Any ideas on how to keep public services adequate to accommodate all the new growth? 

Government needs to be effective and efficient. High staff turnover and shortages have  impacted our ability to perform basic tasks. It may take a year to get a permit to build. Affordable workforce housing would allow for entry level personnel to live where they work. Mixed use developments would provide affordable housing and also allow for a workforce that could routinely walk, bike or take public transportation. The new high school project should include workforce housing  to encourage staff to move here.  

What is your position on the future of Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital? Do you think there is more that the county could do to attract more healthcare services—and more sustainable healthcare services—as the community grows? 

Hazel Hawkins has the opportunity to attract amazing doctors and surgeons, the fiscal backbone of every hospital. The hospital could be purposed as a teaching hospital, attracting young staff from around the world.  HHMH might also provide concierge level service, becoming a “destination hospital” for elective medical procedures. The last thing we should do is feel compelled to rush into a sale of the Hospital, out of fear of the unknown. 

Dustin Weber

Why are you running for County Supervisor? 

I am passionate about public service and being a strong advocate for my community. A Type-1 diabetes diagnosis in elementary school produced a deep interest in healthcare and public policy. I believe I have the right combination of education, work experience and leadership history to be a great Supervisor for District 1 and San Benito County. I hope to earn your support and your vote in this election.

What do you think will be the most pressing needs for San Benito County over the next four years, and how would you address these needs as a supervisor?

Improving our roads and transportation infrastructure, preserving Hazel Hawkins Hospital and its essential health services, finding a viable solution for the county’s landfill needs, and bringing in more well-fitting industries and good paying local jobs to the county. I will be active in engaging all community stakeholders, be dogged in pursuit of all available grant funds, and leverage my network to effectively work with our federal and state partners.

What are your thoughts on how the county should address the increasing demand for residential and commercial growth here? Any ideas on how to keep public services adequate to accommodate all the new growth? 

We should be pursuing industries that are a natural fit for our community and will bring good-paying local job opportunities to the county. I see agriculture technology as one of those industries. More good jobs locally mean fewer commuter cars on the road and improved quality of life. Improving public services requires generating more revenue, which is why I would like to build our industry and jobs base.

What is your position on the future of Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital? Do you think there is more that the county could do to attract more healthcare services—and more sustainable healthcare services—as the community grows?

It is essential we preserve HHMH for this community. As a Type-1 diabetic, I know losing this vital resource will endanger our residents and those requiring critical medical services. Any solution must maintain local access to these services and preserve quality jobs within the county. We need to recruit and retain providers with competitive compensation packages, and work with our federal and state partners to bring additional resources back home.

Dom Zanger

Why do you want to serve another term on the Board of Supervisors?

I’ve only been in office for a little over a year at this point, and I am extremely motivated with what I’ve been able to accomplish as far as preserving farmland, slowing the residential growth, allocating more funds for our crumbling roads, and more. I’m eager to continue doing this work so I can implement policies that result in long term change that benefit our residents.

What do you think will be the most pressing needs for San Benito County over the next four years, and how would you address these needs as a supervisor?

Infrastructure improvement and traffic mitigation. With both of these issues, the first step is to stop adding to the problem. If you have an overflowing sink the first thing you ought to do is turn off the water! We can’t keep building more houses like we have been. The residential growth adds to our traffic commute times, worsens our roads, etc. As far as addressing these now, major road repairs are being undergone and we are pushing our state representatives to streamline Highway 25 improvements.

What are your thoughts on how the county should address the increasing demand for residential and commercial growth here? Any ideas on how to keep public services adequate to accommodate all the new growth?

We should not roll over and allow the state to dictate that we grow to the point of unsustainability. San Benito needs to push back and uphold that the state requirement to zone for housing does not mean we necessarily need to approve housing. As far as commercial, it’s important to take advantage of our tax sharing agreement with the city and encourage business in the area this applies to.

What is your position on the future of Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital? Do you think there is more that the county could do to attract more healthcare services—and more sustainable healthcare services—as the community grows?

The county is 100% supportive of working with the hospital to find a suitable partner that allows for the retention of local control. The JPA that the county has put forward offers a sustainable and solvent plan for the future for the hospital. It is paramount that we identify a partner that will not cut services and leave our residents without viable healthcare options. This is why local control is so important and why we are working towards that long term future.

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