A pandemic hasn’t stopped Mike Mansmith from campaigning the good old fashioned way: knocking on doors and holding in-person forums.
“There’s been a lot of face-to-face interaction because of the business (Mansmith’s BBQ),” he said. “I am part of a third generation family in this community and do know a lot of people. I’ve talked to the majority of the people in this district directly.”
When Jim Gillio resigned on July 21, Mansmith felt a calling to run for the vacated District 4 Supervisor seat. In Mansmith’s opinion, the community has been “torn apart” and needs leaders who the residents in the county can trust.
“I am going to fight for myself and everyone else in our district,” he said. “There are some big distrust issues in our own elected officials, and I’d like to see if I could get some of that trust back.”
Mansmith, 48, wants the county to be more self-sufficient instead of “depending on the state and federal government to hand us money.” Mansmith puts improved road infrastructure high on his priority list. Even though Measure G—the transportation sales tax—passed with nearly 70 percent of the vote in November 2018, Mansmith said it only works if businesses are open and doing well.
That hasn’t been the case since the arrival of the pandemic in mid-March. The Measure G sales tax was expected to generate $16 million in annual revenue over a 30-year period. “But when businesses are shut down, you don’t have a sales tax,” he said.
Mansmith would allow businesses to open back up, particularly eateries that depend on indoor dining.
“We need to reopen our local businesses to prevent losing any more of them permanently,” he said. “We need to allow our citizens to make decisions on their own as far as mask wearing or whatever type of controls they want to take. Everyone is fully aware of the virus and the potential hazards, but they need to be able to make their own choices with what precautions they want to take… It’s just a matter of making your own personal choice if you want to go to a business or to eat inside a restaurant or not.”
The county’s inability to bring in commercial development has also been a major issue, Mansmith said, since it would broaden and increase the tax base and give additional money to improve infrastructure.
A more aggressive approach to highlighting the county as the home to Pinnacles National Park, and a push for more agro-tourism would also be potential big revenue generators, Mansmith said.