District 2 Race: Jennifer Nutting aims to promote tourism, agriculture
Jennifer Nutting makes three promises if she’s elected District 2 Supervisor and everything else, including working to end county government waste, will be top goals.
“My first promise is honesty; I will always tell you the truth,” she said in an interview with Village Life. “No. 2, I’ll always be accessible. My third promise is I will always listen.”
Nutting may be running for public office for the first time, but she’s not new to political life; she’s been watching intently from behind the scenes ever since she married her husband, former District 2 Supervisor Ray Nutting, who was removed from office June 6.
Three days later on Monday, June 9, Jennifer Nutting said a group of 15 to 20 concerned El Dorado County residents asked to meet with her to ask if she’d run for the vacant seat, telling her, “We want somebody honest.”
“Whatever you decide I’m 100 percent behind you, but it’s got to be your decision,” her husband told her at the time.
A turning point was when someone said, “Jennifer you have my support 110 percent, but I think you might be too honest for politics.”
“I thought, how shameful for our country to accept that’s the way it is,” Nutting remembered.
She’s sat at every Tuesday county Board of Supervisors meeting for nearly two years and “learned a lot” in the process, saying, “I’ve never considered myself a political person, but most Tuesday evenings on the rides home I would say, ‘What about this? What about that?’” regarding certain topics. Before she knew it, Nutting was entrenched in the issues and sees herself as the no-nonsense voice that will act on behalf of the people.
One recent topic at a Board of Supervisors meeting about the oak canopy or oak woodland issue had her wringing her hands. “Our General Plan states there must be a certain number of oak trees and property owners are told when they can cut down or not,” she said. “After that meeting there were Sand Fire updates with fire officials saying we should have cleared more debris” — the canopies shouldn’t be touched. “It’s so frustrating because as a county our hands are tied. Meanwhile, insurance agencies are dropping people or even raising their rates if their property has a lot of oak trees. It’s like you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
Even while campaigning Nutting still attends every public Board of Supervisors meeting while working 10- to 16-hour days at her local business, Dramatics Hair Studio, a salon she bought from her mother in 2005. Nutting grew up in Pollock Pines and attended El Dorado Union High School. The salon has been a part of her life since she can remember.
Yet Nutting realizes the job of supervisor requires her full-time attention. If elected, she’ll make sure her clients are properly placed with new hairdressers before the end of the year.
As supervisor, Nutting wants to boost the local business economy without adding rooftops or compromising open space. “It’s a fine line,” she said. “It’s in our General Plan we have enough houses to last us the next 20 years, but so many people go down the hill to work. I’d like to see people living and working where they want instead of working where they have to. If you’re working down the hill, you’re also spending money there.”
Another way to boost local business is by promoting tourism, Nutting continued. “Tourism is probably the cleanest of all industries. When you think about it, people visit our community, spend their money patronizing our local businesses and leave (hopefully with a favorable opinion of us).”
Protecting open space as well as farms, orchards and vineyards is also top of her list. “Our county has a long and proud agricultural tradition,” she said. “But I worry about that tradition surviving in the years to come.”
Nutting is perhaps most passionate about ending wasteful spending. Instead she’d like to see those funds reallocated so fire districts can be open and staffed 24 hours, seven days a week, for instance, and “fix the damaging potholes ruining our roads and wrecking our cars and trucks.”
She’ll work to protect the water we already have, procure new water sources and expand available water supplies. “Our water is our water,” she said. “It doesn’t matter who wants it or why they want it. Whether it is the federal, state or another local government, water is too important to the future of our county to lose.”
She described District 2 as “huge and diverse.” Because it covers everything from portions of El Dorado Hills and rural Somerset, where her family raises livestock and timber on their 640-acre ranch, Nutting wants to see the Board of Supervisors conduct a community needs assessment. “Such an assessment would allow us to shift resources to where we the people really want them,” she explained.
Nutting has earned the endorsement of the California Taxpayer Protection Committee and an ‘A’ rating from Gun Owners of California.
She belongs to the Pioneer Lions Club, Pollock Pines Sports Boosters and Parent Teacher Club of Pinewood School where her youngest of four sons, Chase, 10, attends.
“I want to represent you on our county Board of Supervisors,” said Nutting, “because we all deserve a clean county government where elected officials and department heads are made accountable to you for their actions or inactions.”
“I haven’t met one person who thinks our government is clean from a local, state or national level,” Nutting continued. “Years ago I thought politics was dirty and corrupt, but my husband showed me the other side. He showed me the good side of people who want to help and do the right thing and I know I want to be one of those leaders.”