LOS ANGELES - The pandemic changed the way people felt about many aspects of daily life, including politics. Roxanne Beckford Hoge and Kevin Dalton said they knew very little about Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors before 2020. That all changed when the pandemic showed the extraordinary power that Board members have.
Each Board member has more than 2 million constituents and oversees millions of dollars. They have the power to hire or fire the Director of L.A. County’s Public Health Department, Dr. Barbara Ferrer. Throughout the pandemic, the Board repeatedly endorsed Ferrer’s suggested public health mandates.
"What the Board of Supervisors allowed Barbara Ferrer to get away with is unconscionable," Roxanne Beckford Hoge said.
She decided to run for the open Supervisor seat in District 3 now occupied by the retiring Sheila Kuehl.
"The pandemic happened. I got to see under the hood of local politics and I realized, I had to do something," said Beckford Hoge.
The Republican is running against 3 well-known Democrats: St. Senator Bob Hertzberg, St. Sen. Henry Stern, and West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsay Horvath.
"It's insiders versus outsiders. The insiders have brought us to where we are," she said.
Hoge is a mother of four, who is traversing the 440 square mile district in her minivan. She hands out shirts saying "super mom for Supervisor" for both adults and children. She said the van is a metaphor for the campaign. "It’s a workhorse like me. It’s a utilitarian way to get a lot of people together and get them from place to place and meet all their needs," she said.
Kevin Dalton is running a similar theme for the Board of Supervisors seat in District 1. "Our community, our county was in trouble and no one was stepping up," he said.
Dalton’s tourism company shut down during the pandemic, and he became a full-time father. He said before coronavirus, he barely knew what the Board of Supervisors was.
"To find out that these five individuals have unbelievable power over 10 million people, especially when they started saying ‘You’re essential, you’re not essential, you’re not essential,’" Dalton said. "All of a sudden these light bulbs start turning on saying, ‘Woah, this is a really important gig.'"
Dalton, who is not registered with a political party, is running against current L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis. Solis, a Democrat, who has previously served as a member of Congress and U.S. Secretary of Labor.
"She was entering into politics when I was entering into high school and I’m not a young guy and I think people are ready for a change," he said.
Both Dalton and Hoge want more funding for law enforcement and less regulation for building. They realize the odds are stacked against them due to the county traditionally electing Democrats, but say voters should try something new.
"The way we change this county is to get more citizens on the board, the more citizens we have who have a stake in the community, the better the community will be," Dalton said.