By The Signal Editorial Board
Kathryn Barger brings a common-sense voice to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, and in that role has done an excellent job of representing the Santa Clarita Valley and its interests since she was first elected in 2016.
That makes this one of the easiest endorsements we’ll make in the 2020 election season: As you head to the polls for the March 3 primary, we heartily endorse Barger for re-election.
County supervisors are non-partisan posts — that is, candidates are not identified by political party. But the fact is, Barger as a Republican has a keen understanding of the need to work “across the aisle,” not only with her Democratic board colleagues representing the county’s other four districts, but also with the legislators of both parties who overlap the 5th District, which includes the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys as well as La Crescenta and parts of the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys. At 2,800 square miles, it’s the county’s largest district, including 22 cities and 70 unincorporated communities.
Barger handles it all with aplomb.
She is a caring and sensible representative who emphasizes helping the needy whenever possible, including the homeless and the mentally ill, while maintaining a healthy eye toward fiscal responsibility.
Barger has kept a steady balance on some of the most pressing issues, like homelessness. She has been influential in the county’s opposition to the Boise decision, which prohibits municipalities from removing homeless encampments unless there are enough beds to house every homeless person in the municipality. Barger recognizes that the Boise decision leaves municipalities hamstrung, unable to protect the quality of life of the general public by keeping public spaces, like parks, available for all to use.
At the same time, Barger is a powerful voice in the county’s efforts, working hand in hand with the city of Santa Clarita, to address homelessness in a caring and compassionate way, notably in her efforts to secure funding that has helped transform the SCV’s homeless shelter from a seasonal effort into a 24/7, year-round operation.
She has also fought to help the mentally ill, advocating against the county’s ill-advised decision to abandon plans for a new downtown jail that would have provided much-needed beds to treat those who are incarcerated and suffer from mental illness.
Barger is also a strong supporter of local seniors, and was instrumental in bringing approximately $4 million in county funds to establish the new Bella Vida senior center, which has quickly become a crown jewel of the SCV.
In turn, she has her eye on using the former senior center in Newhall as a location for new programs and services, most likely helping our burgeoning veterans and arts communities.
Kathryn Barger has been representing the 5th District in one capacity or another for more than 30 years, having started as an intern for former Supervisor Mike Antonovich and later serving as his chief of staff for 15 years.
When her constituents talk, Barger listens and responds with solutions, whether it’s addressing Castaic residents’ concerns about traffic or working to preserve open space.
As a supervisor since 2016, she has become a familiar face in the SCV, always keeping the interests of our valley in mind. We’re confident she’s the best choice among the candidates to continue doing so.