State Senate District 1 candidates on the campaign trail |

State Senate District 1 candidates on the campaign trail

Sam Corey
The Union

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Party: Republican

Occupation: State senator/farmer/businessman

Age: 54


Hometown: Bieber


Party: No party preference

Occupation: Retired public school educator

Age: 64


Hometown: Nevada City


Party: Democrat

Occupation: Small business owner of skin care company

Age: 56


Hometown: Nevada City

A slew of races will be included on the March 3 primary election ballot.

And with political races comes candidates hot on the trail to win over the electorate, convincing them they deserve the public’s vote.

District 1 of the state Senate, a region comprised of parts or all of 11 counties, is represented by state Sen. Brian Dahle, R-Bieber. Dahle faces two challengers: Linda Kelleher and Pamela Swartz, both Nevada County residents.


The incumbent is running for the state Senate seat because he said he’s dedicated to the state and making life easier for business owners.

Dahle’s policy proposals mostly revolve around expanding broadband in rural districts like his own, helping business owners and homeowners lower their fire insurance rates. He also wants to help resolve homelessness, which he says is a policy he’s prioritizing.

A lot of these issues, he said, are bipartisan, which allows him room for negotiating with a Democratic supermajority in the California Legislature.

“I have a great relationship with my colleagues across the aisle,” Dahle said.

For homeless people, Dahle said he wants to invest in wraparound services, so those struggling with mental health, drug and alcohol addiction or housing issues can go to one space that coordinates with nonprofits, government officials and religious leaders.

He opposes Assembly Bill 5, which drew a bright line between employees and contract workers. Dahle said some business owners exploit their workers, but added the Assembly bill was an overreach, applying to too many employers.

Dahle is looking to serve his first full term as a state senator, after winning a special election last year for the seat. Dahle served as a state assemblyman from 2012 until June 12, 2019. From 2017 to 2018, Dahle was the minority leader of the California Assembly.

Before serving in the state Legislature, Dahle was on the Lassen County Board of Supervisors for 16 years.

In addition to serving in the state senate, Dahle is a farmer and small businessman.


Nevada City resident Linda Kelleher is running as a no party preference candidate for the seat. Mostly, Kelleher said she wants to dismantle the party system in hopes of returning to the purer dream of the country’s founders.

“My major goal is (that) we become citizens again,” she said.

Kelleher believes in plans like Medicare for All and ridding the district of its charter schools. Instead, she wants to see more funding go to non-charter public schools.

Kelleher said she’s not actively collecting campaign donations because “our electoral system has been corrupted.”

Of the places she’s been campaigning, Kelleher said the residents of Redding have been most open to her aims. They, she said, are tired of partisan bickering, and want to throw their weight behind a non-partisan, independent candidate.

Kelleher, previously “Campbell,” served from 2014 to 2018 on the Nevada Joint Union High School District Board of Trustees.


Pamela Swartz, a Nevada City resident running as a Democrat, believes that health care is “a right, not a privilege.” She wants to reduce homelessness by leveraging public-private collaboration.

“No one should be homeless in the best state, the richest state in the nation,” she said.

Having studied forestry at university, she said fire safety is a big concern of hers, in addition to providing internet access to individuals living in more rural areas.

Although the district leans conservative, Swartz said Americans generally want things that the Democratic Party has championed. That, she said, is shown when looking at polling on a number of issues. Medicare for All is popular, she said, in addition to issuing gun regulations — even for gun owners.

“We want our tax dollars to work for us, not the big, mega corporations,” she said.

Swartz said her policies would support everyone, even those who don’t vote for her. She said she wants to make college affordable for everyone, and health care available to all, regardless of their political affiliation.

Swartz previously served on the Nevada County cannabis Citizens Advisory Group.

To contact Staff Writer Sam Corey, email or call 530-477-4219.

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