The Garden Valley Fire Protection District board has three candidates vying for two seats in this year’s general election; however, another seat is open for board appointment. Wendell Smith, appointed to the board earlier this year, is stepping down from his seat, which still has two years on it.
In the case of the other two seats being left by Richard and Karen Smith, two of the three candidates will win. Running for those seats are Mark Spaugh of Kelsey, Ed Hawkins of Garden Valley, and Philip Northcutt also of Garden Valley.
Spaugh is a retired paramedic firefighter and has lived locally for five years. He worked for 23 years as a paid employee, and continued to volunteer for an additional three years. He began his service lifestyle as an army medic for 82nd Airborne in Granada. Currently, Spaugh is a member of VFW Post 9241, Native Sons Parlor 91, and is a board member at St. James Catholic Church.
“What I’m trying to do is bring my experience with financial things and with issues that fire departments have; wean out budgets within counties or within cities depending on your form of government, and how to best spend it,” he said. “And also make sure that the policies being made aren’t getting us into situations where we need to hire a lawyer…I have experience with the laws, you know, and we don’t have to make policy so that we need a lawyer.”
Running alongside Spaugh is six-year Garden Valley resident and retired fire captain Hawkins. An Army veteran and former police officer turned firefighter, Hawkins is educated in political science and public administration. He is a member of the American Legion Post 119 in Placerville and Native Sons locally.
“I plan to continue the good work the fire board’s been doing; and find ways to enhance funding without raising taxes,” he said.
New Garden Valley resident Northcutt is a livestock rancher who moved to the area in January. When he heard on the radio there were several board seats open in El Dorado County he looked for a place to help serve the community. Northcutt spent most of his life serving as a Marine.
“If you pack the board with people who are all tied to the industry, maybe you’re not going to get representation,” he said. “I just wanted to do something for the community.”