While the country watches debates and agonizes over who’ll be our next president, we have a very critical election here in Santa Barbara County.

On June 7, we’ll vote for who will represent us on the Board of Supervisors in the First District, which covers Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito, part of the city of Santa Barbara, and even New Cuyama.

Why is this seat so important? A supervisor is a nonpartisan position; whether a Democrat, an Independent or a Republican doesn’t matter. What does matter is that we choose the right candidate to best manage the county’s billion-dollar annual budget, its 23 separate businesses and 4,000 employees.

Imagine the county as a corporation, a large corporation responsible for the maintenance of our courts; our police and fire departments; public health and social services; the administration of our public records; elections; building and safety; public works, which maintains our hundreds of miles of roads; parks, buildings and facilities; planning and development; county counsel; and the governance of our $2.5 billion pension fund — this is but a partial list.

Clearly, then, the successful management of an organization this big, this complex, that has an impact on all county residents daily requires tremendous dedication, commitment, and above all, skill.

There are two candidates for First District Supervisor: Das Williams and Jennifer Christensen.

Mr. Williams has spent his entire adult life in politics and currently is termed out in the Assembly. But in addition to running for Santa Barbara County supervisor, he is also running (and fund-raising) for the state Senate seat that opens in 2020!

What does this say about his commitment to the First District? Are we but a four-year placeholder, a paycheck, until he returns to Sacramento?

The second candidate is Jennifer Christensen, who’s running as an Independent. Jen is not a politician. For the last 15 years she’s worked for Santa Barbara County as a municipal finance attorney, a division chief for the County-Auditor-Controller, and now serves as the County Investment Officer, managing our billion-dollar bond portfolio.

She has earned the esteem of department heads and supervisors alike, and has real hands-on experience in every aspect of country government.

Jen has her law degree and an MBA from USC. She serves as chairwoman of the County Employees’ Retirement Fund, and sits on the City Police and Fire Commission. She and her husband, a retired deputy sheriff for 34 years, are long-time residents of the First District.

Jen is authentic, she will protect Montecito’s culture, our property values, and never leverage them for higher office.

The undersigned past presidents of the Montecito Association hereby endorse Jennifer Christensen for First District Supervisor:

Art Henzell (1971)

David Yager (1975)

Sally Kinsell (1990, 1991)

Robert Meghreblian (1995, 1996)

Dan Eidelson (1997, 1998)

Bob Bierig (1999, 2000)

Diane Pannkuk (2001, 2002)

Ralph Baxter (2003)

Robert Collector (2006)

Peter Van Duinwyk (2009)

Richard Nordlund (2010, 2011, 2012)

David Kent (2013)

Ted Urschel (2014)

Cindy Feinberg (2015)