Dan Carpenter's campaign to replace San Luis Obispo County 3rd District Supervisor Adam Hill isn't about winning or losing.
For Carpenter, it's about giving voters a choice when they head to the polls June 7.
"If at the end of the day, people decide (Hill is) the supervisor they want, I'm good with that," Carpenter said. "The only thing I'd be upset (about) is if I didn't put myself out there enough and people didn't get to know me."
Carpenter, a sitting San Luis Obispo city councilman, is challenging Hill for the 3rd District seat the incumbent supervisor has held since 2009.
The pair will be joined on the ballot by former Grover Beach Mayor Debbie Peterson.
If none of the three candidates takes more than 50 percent of the vote in June, a runoff election between the top two vote-getters will be held in November.
"It's not a 'win or nothing' for me," Carpenter added. "It's a 'put myself out there and if the (voters) like it, I'm happy to serve you.' If you don't like my style, I'm happy to do something else.
"Being supervisor is the best way I think I can serve the public, but it's not the only way."
However, Carpenter said he doesn't want voters to misinterpret his intentions for running, as he truly does want to join the Board of Supervisors and represent the county where he was born and raised.
"No, I really want to be supervisor because I can serve the public in a genuine, authentic way," he said, "And I want to do that. That's my goal. That's why I'm working seven days a week, 12- to 15-hour days, to make this happen. (But) if the people say, 'Dan, we just don't like you for whatever reason, I'm good.'"
Carpenter readily admits such statements sound foreign to the electorate, as most individuals are accustomed to politicians who look to win political contests at all costs.
But the lifelong 3rd District resident is quick to point out that he's anything but a politician.
"I don't call myself a politician because I am not," Carpenter said. "I am a public servant. If I ever look at it differently, I should probably step away. I'm here to serve the public, and if I ever become self-serving, it's time to walk away."
He said he strongly believes in term limits and, if elected to the Board of Supervisors, he would only serve two terms and call it quits.
"After two terms, you start to serve your agency more than your constituents," Carpenter said. "Term limits allow you a good, healthy turnover. It brings new ideas ... and new approaches. Two terms — in, out and done. It was never meant to be a career."
Carpenter is also a big believer in accessibility and transparency, especially when it comes to what he sees as the role of a public servant.
He said he isn't big on closed sessions, prefers to do the public's business in public and will be the first person to ask city staff the hard questions.
"The public deserves to hear our discourse in public," he said. "It shouldn't happen in back rooms. Transparency is really important to me. I want everything out in the open. I'm very candid ... and I will expose the truth, sometimes that's uncomfortable."
Much like his opponents, Carpenter sees water as one of the top three issues facing the district now and in the future.
"You can't have a discussion without (talking about) water," he said.
He said he's cautiously optimistic about a proposal to pump excess desalinated water from Diablo Canyon Power Plant to the South County as a supplemental source for the area.
Transportation, infrastructure and housing are also at the top of his priority list.
Carpenter also said he "absolutely supports the relicensing of Diablo Canyon," which sits on the coast between Avila Beach and Los Osos.
The licenses to operate the twin-reactor nuclear plant expire in 2024 and 2025.
"The clean renewable energy it provides and the jobs it provides to our community, to me, is an asset, besides the millions of tax dollars it provides to our schools" Carpenter said. "I'm a big fan of Diablo Canyon and PG&E."
The 3rd District stretches from Montaña de Oro State Park southward through Avila Beach, Avila Valley and the cities of Pismo Beach and Grover Beach.
It also extends eastward through the southern half of San Luis Obispo and Edna Valley, then southward along Highway 227 and Corbett Canyon Road to Huasna Road and Lopez Drive east of Arroyo Grande.
For more information about Carpenter and his campaign, visit http://dancarpentersupervisor.com/.
April Charlton covers South San Luis Obispo County for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow her on Twitter@WordsDawn.
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