Santa Cruz Supervisor and current Board Chair Zach Friend announced Friday that he will not seek a fourth term on the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.
Friend was first elected in 2012, and was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2016 and 2020. His current term ends in January of 2025.
“Representing this County has been the nonpareil opportunity of a lifetime.” Supervisor Friend stated in a press release. “We are a region blessed with the most caring people, unrivaled natural gifts and unmatched innovation. The privilege of representing our area has been remarkable.”
Friend serves on a number of state and national commissions, including chairing the California State Association of Counties Health and Human Services Committee, with responsibility for advocating on behalf of California’s 58 counties on issues related to behavioral health services, public health and homelessness.
He also serves on the National Association of Counties Executive Committee, where he advocates in Washington, D.C. for transportation, rural broadband and flood-protection issues.
Friend’s District 2 seat goes up for reelection in March.
While filing for the election has not yet officially opened, Doug Dietch, Pajaro Valley Unified School District Trustee Kim De Serpa and Capitola City Council woman Kristen Brown have so far filed papers that they intend to run.
District 2 includes Aptos, La Selva Beach, Seacliff and Rio Del Mar, along with some of the most productive agricultural land in the country in the communities of Corralitos, Freedom and the Pajaro River basin. Portions of the cities of Capitola and Watsonville are also included.
Locally, Friend chairs the Monterey Bay Air Resources Board, the Pajaro Regional Flood Management Agency, Santa Cruz County Flood Control and Water Conservation District Zone 7. He co-chairs the Oral Health Access Santa Cruz County board.
In addition, Friend serves on the Criminal Justice Council, Library Financing Authority, Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC), Santa Cruz County Sanitation District, Santa Cruz Mid-County Water Agency and Santa Cruz-Monterey-Merced Managed Medical Care Commission.
He was also involved in the transformation of the Aptos, La Selva and Capitola Libraries to the creation of Seacliff Village Park and Willowbrook Park in honor of Sergeant Damon Gutzwiller.
“We were proud to spearhead efforts resulting in the greatest investments in parks and youth activities in decades and to improve public spaces from libraries to coastal access in ways that make our community even more special” Friend said.
Friend led efforts to remodel Seascape Park and Hidden Beach Park, construct and provide bike and skate opportunities at Seacliff Village Park and Pinto Lake Park and add new fully-accessible park features to multiple parks throughout the district.
He also led efforts to secure more than $400 million for the Pajaro River Levee Project.
“We have a lot of great things left to accomplish in the next 17 months.” Supervisor Friend noted. “I am excited to stay actively engaged locally and keep contributing to our community in any way possible well beyond my term. We are fortunate to live in a community where the seeds fell on good soil and I truly believe in an extraordinary future for our county.”