It was standing room only at 8:30 p.m. Brian Veerkamp’s election celebration headquarters at Thompson’s Auto Care in Placerville was still humming an hour later just before the candidate delivered a heartfelt speech to his supporters.
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At the time, he was leading Richard Barb by a margin of about 57 to 42 percent for the District 3 Supervisor seat. The latest totals on Wednesday listed approximately 56 percent for Veerkamp and 44 percent for Barb. Local movers and shakers abounded along with active supporters and contributors at the party.
Outgoing District 3 Supervisor Jack Sweeney was there. Former District 4 Supervisor Bill Center, likewise. Incoming District 1 Supervisor-elect Ron Mikulaco was there as was Placerville City Council candidate Carol Patton. Tom Heflin, planning commissioner appointed by Sweeney, and his wife Christa Campbell were deeply involved.
Ed Mathews, longtime Realtor, said he was a “campaign supporter.”
“This is a very good decision for the county,” Mathews said. “We’ll need his leadership. He loves our county, and he’s not for big growth or big change.”
Heflin said, “He does his homework, and he has solid experience serving on elected boards.”
County Parks and Recreation Commissioner Bob Smart, a retired U.S. Forest Service ranger, said he “hooked up with Veerkamp early on, because with Diamond Springs and El Dorado we have issues in common. And he and his wife have demonstrated a commitment to this community,” Smart said.
Sweeney sent the following to the Mountain Democrat by e-mail Thursday:
“I was pleased to have all good candidates in the race to take my place on the Board of Supervisors. I believe that people gave Brian Veerkamp the edge because he has been so involved with so many community activities. He has served well on the Camino School Board and is known to be an independent thinker as well as a hard worker. The voters recognize that he does his homework on the issues and that he has been involved with many issues that affect our county.
“I believe Brian was a good choice and will serve our county well. I will help make the transition as smooth as possible.”
The candidate himself spoke at about 9:45 p.m. and gave his first shoutout to all those supporters who had been there all night. His next words introduced his and his brother Doug’s kindergarten teacher Vivian Carpenter. For the next few minutes he hugged her as he spoke.
“She shaped who I am at an early age,” he said. “And I’m a firm believer in doing the right thing.”
That theme carried through the rest of his remarks as he quoted his great-great-great-grandfather who said, “Do right and fear no man.”
Veerkamp was proud to have stayed above the “negative” and added that “doing what’s right for the people” is why he ran for office, and, “We’ll do that with your support.”
As a candidate, Veerkamp was endorsed by the Mountain Democrat as well as the Sacramento Bee and a number of local businesses and agencies. He served on the Camino School Board and is on the faculty of the Los Rios Community College District. He retired two years ago as chief of the El Dorado Hills Fire Department.
The Veerkamp extended family has been in El Dorado County since the mid-1800s, and one of his ancestors served on the county Board of Supervisors throughout the 1920s.
According to Election Department data, the Veerkamp campaign raised more than $80,000, much of it in relatively small amounts from friends and family. The supervisor-elect has stated for the record that he will not accept either the approximately $70,000 supervisor salary or the county-provided health benefits. As a Public Employee Retirement System annuitant, he has said that he does not need the county pay and benefits.
Veerkamp and new supervisor-elect Ron Mikulaco will take office at the first Board of Supervisors meeting in January.
Contact Chris Daley at 530-344-5063 or [email protected] Follow @CDaleyMtDemo.