Meet the candidates for District 5

Debra Moore
Staff Writer

There are three candidates vying for the opportunity to represent District 5 as a county supervisor. District 5 includes Graeagle, most of the Mohawk Valley and a portion of East Quincy.

The candidates completed the following questionnaire and their answers appear in their own words.

Vote-by-mail ballots will be sent out May 5. Election day is June 3.

The League of Women Voters plans to hold two community forums — one in Graeagle and one in Quincy — sometime in late April or early May. When those dates become available, they will be announced in this newspaper as well as on

Jon Kennedy is the incumbent for District 5. He is completing his first term in office and is currently the Board of Supervisors chairman.

Clio residents Jeff Engel and Jim Judd are challenging Kennedy. A candidate would require 50 percent plus one vote to avoid a runoff in November.


Click on the names below to read the candidate's interview:

Jim Judd

Jeffery Engel

Jon Kennedy




Jim Judd
Jim Judd
Age: 57
Family: Wife Audrey; daughters Jennifer and Christene, who are both married; and four wonderful grandchildren
Occupation and work history: President and co-owner of J&M Mfg. Inc.
How long have you lived in or have had ties to Plumas County?
 Since 1999.
What prompted you to run for District 5 supervisor?
 Seeing the lack of concern and understanding from our current BOS that local businesses need a government that creates an environment that allows businesses to succeed. We need to understand and give community special districts the opportunity to share in our political, economic and policy decisions currently being made by the BOS.
I’m upset that our jail condition has not been adequately addressed by current and past BOS leaving not only the sheriff’s department to fend for themselves but the burden of taxpayer liability issues if not addressed immediately. In addition the jail condition has been exacerbated by AB 109.
What experience do you bring to the position?
 As a successful business owner with 30 years of experience who has the vision and understanding on how to deal with multimillion-dollar budgets, administrative personnel, critical customer awareness and having increased growth in both sales and jobs is a badly needed trait many District 5 business leaders are looking for.
Additionally, having a straight-up no-nonsense approach to tackle the issues regarding the sheriff’s department and our districtwide fire departments who badly need support and assistance dealing with budgets, retention and their future. I bring a commitment to build upon an anemic local economy that won’t be easy to fix but will be dealt with that moves in a direction to support our current needs while building for our future.
What would you do differently than the current supervisor?
 See above response with the addition that I would give respect and encouragement to fellow board members as well as constituents. I’m an individual who listens first and talks last. I’m an individual who creates a positive can-do attitude without an ego. I’m an individual who understands it’s about us not me.
What do you consider to be the three biggest issues facing the county and how would you address them?
 Addressed in “what experience do you bring to the position” above. With the additional concern on the adopted general plan making changes where necessary and having a clear understanding of cause and effect addressing now not at a later date. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get (to) work instead of kicking the can down the road.
What about District 5? Is there an issue that is unique to Mohawk Valley and/or East Quincy?
 I don’t believe there is one unique issue that differentiates the two areas but rather I believe the common concerns that bind both areas are those of economic and essential service needs.
Do you consider the work of supervisor to be full-time?
 I certainly do; to think otherwise would put you in a position to accept responsibilities for another city or county.
What would you like county residents to know about you?
 That I simply care! Like all of you, I want a better future for our children, those that work and live here in Plumas County and those that retire here. I’m an individual who leads by example and knows through experience that you can do anything when you put your mind to it.

Jeff Engel

Name: Jeffrey (Jeff) Engel

Age: 62 years

Family: My wife Jennifer and I started dating at Portola High School. We will be celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary in August. We have three grown children and seven grandkiddos, five grandboys and two grandgirlies. They range in age from 1 to 11. My in-laws Joan and Ole Olsen live in Graeagle. They own and operate “Olsen’s Cabin.” Ole, a former District 5 supervisor, is a director on the board of our local Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Co-Op.

Occupation and work history: I am a local, longtime, self-employed, general engineering contractor. My wife Jennifer and I have been the owners of Engel Construction for 32 years since 1982. The majority of my work has been in the Graeagle area.

How long have you lived in or have had ties to Plumas County?Through my wife, my ties to Plumas County reach back farther than the actual time I fully lived here. Plumas County has been “Our Family’s Home” for over 57 years. Jennifer’s father worked for Pacific Bell Telephone Company and transferred from So California to Portola in 1957. My father was the manager of Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Co-Op and moved our family from Kansas to Portola in 1963. We have lived and worked here for 30 years.


What prompted you to run for District 5 Supervisor?Approximately 18 – 22 years ago I had been giving a lot of thought to running for District 5 supervisor. I was approached at that same time and was asked to run for District 5 supervisor by some of the same people who today are supporting one of my opponents in this race. I told them I had decided not to run because our children were still living at home and I needed to spend my time with them. Now, speed ahead 20 years … the words, “Struggle, Officer Involved Shooting at Eastern Plumas Hospital.” That sick feeling came over me immediately. Who has been hurt, killed, how many, what happened? Then I started thinking of some of the deputies I know of. The officer involved happened to be a good friend of our children, our family. He and his sister spent many childhood nights over the years at our home, as did ours with them.


What experience do you bring to this position?

I bring with me a self-made, self-employed, hands-on, dig-in-the-dirt, business background. For the past 32 years my business has mainly been with you, the people of Plumas County. My staff and I have installed in the high hundreds???? Septic tanks, leach fields, replacement septic tanks, and secondary leach fields, dug footings for homes, built roads, respectfully removed trees from lots, plowed snow and have done small handy man, help-you-out jobs for the elderly. I have never been called back to re-do a careless or faulty job. I have never been sued. I have dealt with many, many local merchants for business as well as personal materials such as tires, fuel, oil, sand, gravel, rocks, fittings, pipe, cement, wire, animal feed, fencing, always maintaining a good economic and working/payment relationship.


What would you do differently than the current supervisor?

Being your supervisor in a thriving economy, let alone during this stagnant economy we’re in, is and will continue to be a very difficult job. Mr. Kennedy has made decisions and voted differently than I would have on some issues, but I do believe he is doing what he thinks is right. If you, Plumas County District 5 voters, elect me as your supervisor, I will always welcome you and your questions, concerns, ideas and any suggestions you think would improve our economic status. It’s going to take all of us, working together, giving and helping each other if we are to come up on the high side of this economy.


What do you consider to be the three biggest issues facing the county and how would you address them?

Plumas County has been hit hard with a slow growing economy; according to, the unemployment rate in Plumas County during December 2013 was 11.8, state of California was 7.9, and United States had a rate of 6.7. We need jobs.

One of my top priorities will be to bring in jobs, good jobs; jobs that will complement our county, jobs that will be nonpolluting, safe for our communities, waterways, valleys and forests. Promote, seek and welcome those interested in such things as birding, biking, boating, bodybuilding, camping, fishing, golfing, hiking, horseback riding, hunting, forest, Johnsville museum, railroad museum, shopping, skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, swimming and weightlifting. Our families need to be safe, secure and have well-paying, local jobs. With our good jobs come growth. With good growth comes public safety, financial security; with financial security comes the ability to protect funding to our public employees, our veterans and our senior citizens’ nutritional programs.


What about District 5? Is there an issue that is unique to Mohawk Valley and/or East Quincy?

The opening of the Johnsville Ski Hill will be another one of my top priorities as your supervisor. Once reopened, Johnsville will be an economic, recreational and cultural treasure for Plumas County. If Johnsville could be utilized all year round with recreation we may be able to help keep the lights on and beds filled in many of our local motels, vacation homes, restaurants and businesses giving “Our Local Economy” a much-needed boost.

Johnsville Ski Hill will provide a positive and healthy recreational resource for our local youths, families, visiting friends and tourists. It will also help in strengthening our community by encouraging young families and retirees to “Come and Build Their Lives in Plumas County.” Having enjoyed the Johnsville Ski Hill as a child, I would like the same opportunities for our families. I will devote my time and effort working to get the ski hill open.


Do you consider the work of supervisor to be full-time?

I do consider the job as your supervisor to be a 24-hour-a-day job. I know I will be on call when situations or problems arise. I have what I consider to be the best of the best as my employees. I will continue to oversee and operate Engel Construction, but will be available to respond to your needs.


What would you like county residents to know about you?

Jennifer and I along with our children and their families have owned and successfully operated Engel Construction for over 32 years. Many of the concerns you have for your families are similar to the ones we’ve had for my family. We care deeply for all of Plumas County and its people. Please contact me with any ideas, concerns or suggestions you may have.

I am a hard-working, common-sense and successful, local self-employed businessman. I’m a man of few words but I am a good listener, I’m not a politician or a smooth talker. I won’t make promises I can’t keep. I hope you can see that “Our Roots Grow Deep & Wide, Long & Local” here in the Plumas County soil.

I live here, I’ve raised my family here, I work here, I love it here.



Jon Kennedy

Name: Jon Kennedy

Age: 48

Family: Wife, Tiffany; and sons, Connor, Carter and Aaron

Occupation and work history: Plumas County supervisor

How long have you lived in or have had ties to Plumas County?

We moved back to Plumas County to raise our children in the beginning of 2007. I have family ties to Plumas County that stretch back to the mid-1800s. My great-great-grandmother was born in the La Porte area; great-grandfather born in Plumas County; grandfather born at Bucks Ranch before it was a lake and both parents were raised here. I was born in Quincy and my wife was born and raised in Plumas County as well.

Why are you seeking another term as District 5 supervisor?

To finish what we started. I’ve been told by many friends and supporters that I chose the worst time to get into local politics, but I have to respectfully disagree and maintain, that for me, it was the best time. The challenges we faced collectively were unprecedented and my personal life experiences, bad and good, successful and unsuccessful, gave me the perfect perspective to face these challenges.

What experience do you bring to the position?

Over three years as your supervisor and about 25 years of varied professional and personal experience that perfectly prepared me for the job. I am a proven problem solver and a no-nonsense communicator with strong analytical and leadership abilities.

This will be your second term in office; is there anything that you plan to do differently?

The citizens of Plumas County have invested in me for the last three years, and they deserve even more going forward. I do plan to carve out more time for my family while continuing to work hard for Plumas County.

What do you consider to be the three biggest issues facing the county and how would you address them?

There aren’t just three biggest issues, and to simply list the three I consider the biggest facing Plumas County would not accurately depict what’s important to the majority. However, I’ll outline three that are timely, important and most likely have an effect on the majority.

1) AB 109 and Public Safety — This fairly new law has highlighted now, more than ever, a need to construct a new correctional facility to better serve the county and the hard-working jail staff and general law enforcement. I will continue working with the state and local jurisdiction to identify and secure affordable funding to finally begin construction.

2) Access to health care for all citizens — Despite your opinion of the Affordable Care Act and California’s decision to take an active role in achieving the goals of the ACA, it’s happening and we need to face the challenges head-on. There are many errors in the system that affect all insureds, from private business owners to patients who have shifted from Medi-Cal to Medi-Cal Managed Care. We have a serious problem with access in our county, from receiving medical care to needed prescriptions, and we’ve been taking an active roll in fighting for not only our county, but other small counties in the state. I will continue with the same efforts and we will demand and receive the attention we deserve.

3) Education — I approach this topic as a citizen, a county supervisor and a parent. Without a strong school system, our children (future) lose a competitive edge. Families choose to move elsewhere and talented children leave the area with no desire to return. I will continue to be diligent in fighting for all children in the entire county, not just mine. I was instrumental, along with hundreds of other community members, in taking the budget and the threats of closing schools seriously. We will continue assisting the school board and superintendent in collectively solving problems and better utilizing the funds we have available.

What about District 5? Is there an issue that is unique to Mohawk Valley and/or East Quincy?

Generally speaking, the issues in these areas are not unique to the rest of the county. Some of the problems I stated in the previous question are universal to the rest of the county. East Quincy has similar economic challenges as other communities and government needs to understand it’s not a job creator, the private sector is. The Mohawk Valley has experienced environmental and economic issues that have abruptly stalled development of the Feather River Inn and a handful of other developments. As the economy slowly bounces back, we need to do everything possible to promote a favorable regulatory environment that encourages reasonable development instead of discourage it.

Do you consider the work of supervisor to be full-time?

And then some. The job of county supervisor is full-time and I believe it should be treated as such.


What would you like county residents to know about you?

I’m a dedicated hard worker with a passion for doing what’s right, despite the scrutiny and criticism usually associated with having to make difficult decisions that some may not agree with. My life and my family’s life is directly impacted by the way Plumas County is managed and I’m in the trenches with other hard-working people trying to make a living and raise a family.



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