Credit: Vicki Nohrden and Dawn Addis | Courtesy

This story first appeared in the November print edition of Mustang News, titled "SLO County Voter Guide." Pick up a copy from a newsstand around Cal Poly's campus to read more.

The State Assembly seat for District 30 is on the ballot in the upcoming Nov. 8 election. The district includes portions of San Luis Obispo County, Monterey County and Santa Cruz County.

After primary elections, Vicki Nohrden is running on the Republican ticket and Dawn Addis is on the Democrat ticket. 

Nohrden has contributed to many community service efforts in the district. She has served as a court appointed special advocate for children and a family liaison in the juvenile justice system. She has also overseen claims of government corruption, accountability and management as a member of the civil grand jury. 

Addis is currently serving as a Morro Bay council member and co-founded the Women’s March in SLO in 2017. She is a former teacher and has a master’s degree in special education from San Francisco State University. 

Ahead of the election, Mustang News spoke to both candidates to understand their platform and hear more about their opinion on local topics.

Q: Why did you decide to run for elected office?

Vicki Nohrden: In 2018, I decided to run for office, and I didn’t know a lot. I felt that the people were not being listened to, and it was really affecting all of us. People were talking about issues, but nobody was really doing too much about it. And so – this is the honest truth – I Googled how to run for office.

We have a lot of people who get elected, and then they go to Sacramento. I feel like they forget the people that they were elected to represent. They don’t even come out and do a campaign. They don’t come out and meet with the people. Many times they won’t even debate, and I feel that the people have a right to hear from their legislators from those who elected.

Dawn Addis: The Central Coast is expensive enough. I believe we need a leader who will work as hard as the people of the Central Coast do to protect what we love, and get our fair share from Sacramento. I am ready to do that alongside the coalition of teachers, nurses, firefighters, and more than 350 organizations, and elected and community leaders who support me. 

We live in one of the best places in the world. The natural beauty is unrivaled and people come from all over the world to visit. This Central Coast is a major contributor to the California economy, but we aren’t getting back what we put in. I will work to change that.

Q: Housing and homlessness are major issues in the district. How will you tackle the issue tedif elected?

Nohrden: My husband and I had gone out for dinner, and I got my fish taco to go that I didn’t eat. I said to my husband, ‘Go and give this to somebody instead of sticking it in a hotel room.’ There was a gentleman there, and he was very happy to receive it. There were some young people there as well. That’s very heartbreaking, isn’t it? We have been involved with the homeless in a lot of different ways, whether it’s just reaching out to somebody to help them sitting down hearing about who they are.

I have looked at many different homeless shelters across our district. One shelter that I do like is 40 Prado. They have a warming and sitting area. They do lunches and dinners, and they also have places inside for families.

More recently is Sun Street Centers, which works with drug addiction and alcohol. They bought a place right next to 40 Prado that is a medical detox center.  I would like to put together a group of these organizations.

Addis: I grew up as a renter. My mom was a single parent, and my dad struggled with homelessness, incarceration, and addiction. We moved often due to affordability issues. Having permanent housing was something I yearned for and something I associated with safety and security.

I believe that all children and families should be housed with dignity. Housing costs are rising far faster than wages–and we have to address that problem from both sides. I’ll work to increase the stock of affordable housing units while also increasing wages and economic development.

 Additionally, while some people prefer to rent, home ownership is an incredibly important facet of lifting families out of poverty. That’s why I’ll work to increase home ownership tools.

Q: What would you say to constituents if you could reach everyone in District 30?

Nohrden: I just want people to know that I’m just a real person. I care about our future. I care about how our government runs and how we’re going. We have problems in our community.  

My top issue is helping our region recover economically from COVID-19. 

Even before the pandemic, the Central Coast was facing a prospect of jobs that failed to provide families with the resources they needed to afford housing and the cost of living. This burden was pushing many out of the region and even out of the state.

We can’t keep kicking the can down the road. We’ve run out of road and we’ve got to deal with issues. So homelessness and mental health are important to me as well as the energy moving forward for our state as well.

Addis: My vision is a district where all people can afford a home, we end homelessness, provide the mental health support that community-members need, increase wages and bolster economic development. I envision a district in which every resident has the healthcare they need – including affordable prescription drugs, expanded senior health services, better health insurance options for families and access to reproductive care for all people. 

As a special education teacher, it is my priority to invigorate public education and improve outcomes for students. I see an Assembly District that leads California in protecting our pristine coast, securing renewable energy investment and jobs, and addressing the climate crisis.

I’m proud of the work we’ve put in to effectively build coalitions to serve our communities. I’m honored to be endorsed by local nurses, firefighters, teachers, and leaders across San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. My ability to work well with others, to build trust and to forge relationships are assets that make me an effective leader.
For more information on each of the candidates, visit the election websites for Nohrden and Addis’ campaigns.