For the first time in 16 years, Sacramento County’s Third District has a new supervisor.
Supervisor Rich Desmond was sworn in at the Jan. 11 Board meeting. Desmond took the reins from the recently retired District 3 Supervisor, Susan Peters, who administered the oath of office when Desmond swore in.
A lifelong resident of District 3 and fifth-generation Sacramentan, Desmond is no stranger to the community and has a long history of involvement in the area. In 2005, he participated in the development of the Carmichael Community Action Plan, served multiple terms as a Commissioner on the Sacramento County Adult and Aging Commission, and helped establish the Sacramento Senior Safehouse to protect seniors at risk of abuse and neglect.
In 2018, Desmond was appointed to serve as a member of the Carmichael/Old Foothill Farms Community Planning Advisory Council that provides feedback and community perspective on development proposals in District 3.
“After the election results were finalized, I immediately set up meetings with the County leadership team and my fellow board members,” said Desmond. “I am a firm believer that the most important thing to do when you join an organization is to learn, listen, understand and educate yourself fully about that organization.”
Desmond is also focused on the unique needs of District 3 residents. “District 3 is almost entirely an unincorporated area, and my constituents rely heavily on County services,” said Desmond. “What’s important to me is that the County be an effective, responsive provider of municipal services to the District’s constituents.”
Desmond has a number of priorities on his agenda, and at the top of that list is keeping people safe from COVID-19. “My hope is that people will adhere to our public health order to keep their families and communities safe,” he said. “I also want to make sure that the County vaccination rollout is one that will have appropriate oversight so we vaccinate people as quickly as possible.
“At the same time, as we begin to recover from the pandemic, we need to get assistance to working families who are worried about how they are going to make their next rent or house payment, as well as helping businesses who have been hit hard by the pandemic.”
Responding to homelessness is top of mind for Desmond as well.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, my number one priority is going to be homelessness,” he said. “How we handle our homelessness crisis is going to be our legacy. This is the biggest humanitarian issue that we face, and it’s such a complex crisis, in terms of how we can help people get out of homelessness.”
Desmond’s top concerns include improving conditions of the roads. “A lot of people judge the effectiveness of their local government by how well that government can maintain infrastructure people have paid for with their tax dollars,” he said.
Moreover, Desmond is clear about his philosophy on success in local governance. “I believe in the importance of non-partisanship when it comes to local governance,” he said. “We need to look at the problems we face and find the best solutions collectively, collaboratively and in partnership, both among ourselves and among other elected bodies within Sacramento County.”
While not a newcomer to District 3, Desmond had distinct impressions of the County as a newcomer to the Board. “In meeting with County staff and my fellow Board members, I’ve been really struck by how dedicated the staff and my fellow elected officials are, how passionate they are about Sacramento County, and how dedicated they are to the programs and services that Sacramento County provides.
“That’s inspired to me in a relatively short period of time, and it makes me excited that we can do great things. I’m proud to be a part of this organization.”