by Hank Sims
At a meeting in the North Coast Journal offices a few moments ago, lifelong McKinleyville resident Ryan Sundberg ended the speculation -- he confirmed that he will, in fact, join the throng seeking the seat of outgoing Fifth District Supervisor Jill Duffy in the upcoming election.
Sundberg, 34, is a member of the Trinidad Rancheria Tribal Council (an elected position) and an agent for Farmers Insurance. So far, Bay District Commissioner Pat Higgins and Lost Coast Communications CEO Patrick Cleary have also announced for the Fifth.
Sundberg's campaign is still very much in the early stages. He said that he still had a lot of research to do on the specifics, and said that more fully fleshed-out position statements would come once he speaks with members of the community. "What do the people want?" he asked. "You have to be able to get out there and talk with them, to find out."
Nevertheless, Sundberg said that there were three broad issues that compelled him to run: jobs, affordable housing and quality of life. As regards job creation, he listed two specific projects that he would like to focus on -- increased broadband penetration into the county, and improvements to goods movement in and out of the area. He said that he already has worked on the broadband issue in his capacity as a tribal council member, and believes that he and the group that is working with the rancheria will be able to announce significant progress on that front soon.
Sundberg said that the principal distinction between he and his competitors, in sum, is that he has lived in the district his entire life, and his campaign will stand on his long record of service to the community.
The Sundberg campaign's kickoff party will be held on Saturday, Jan. 30, from 3-6 p.m. at McKinleyville's Azalea Hall. Sundberg emphasized that it will be a family-friendly event, with refreshments and kids' activities free to the public.