Kim Bergel, an instructional assistant at Eureka City Schools and a member of the Eureka City Council since 2014, plans to run for Humboldt County Supervisor next year, potentially challenging current Supervisor Virginia Bass in the Fourth District.
“I am really excited to build on the experience I’ve already had with the city,” Bergel told the Outpost via phone this afternoon. “I want to be a voice for the City of Eureka and alleviate some of the burden as far as mental health services.”
Bergel said people began asking her about a year ago whether she was interested in running for the Fourth District Seat but she needed time to think it over, evaluate her own motives and consider where she’d best be suited.
Last week, at a gathering of the Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee, she announced her intention to run for county supervisor.
“I feel like I’ve been really innovative in my time on the council,” Bergel said. “I’m dedicated and I work hard. That in combinations with the relationships I have built, I think we can come up with some outside-the-box solutions.”
She sees a need for new approaches to issues surrounding some of Eureka’s transient residents who suffer from mental health problems. “Business owners are inundated with this stuff day in and day out,” she said. “It’s time we continue to look at new ways to tackle this problem.”
We say Bergel could “potentially” challenge Bass because the incumbent Fourth District supervisor has yet to announce whether she’ll run for re-election.
Bergel could also potentially be running against Natalie Arroyo, who has also served on the Eureka City Council since 2014 and who announced her Fourth District candidacy in August.
Arroyo’s nascent campaign is in an awkward limbo at the moment thanks to the county’s in-progress redistricting effort. One of the three draft maps released to date would excise a big northwestern hunk of Eureka from the Fourth District and, somewhat bafflingly, tether it to the Arcata-centric Third District via the Samoa Peninsula. Arroyo’s house falls squarely within that big hunk, and of course her candidacy is dependent on Fourth District residency.
Bergel said her home is safely within the confines of the Fourth in all draft maps. Regarding the potential of a head-to-head matchup with her co-councilmember she said, “I think you’ll probably see one of the most civil races you’ve seen in a long time.”
This prediction of courtesy recalls the 2018 election season, when eight of the 12 candidates for Eureka city government — including both Arroyo and Bergel — convened an odd press conference outside City Hall to address “dirty campaigning” from some or all of their challengers. The specifics were somewhat vague.
Asked what else she’d like to accomplish as a supervisor, Bergel said working with St. Joseph Hospital would be a big goal.
“When I’m hearing stories of mental health patients staying in the ER for four days — there’s gotta be a solution that we as a community can come up with,” she said. “There’s just a lot of burden put on a lot of places that I think we should shift.”
She plans to officially launch her campaign with a kickoff event sometime next month.
“I look forward to working with the community to work through some of these issues that have been troubling us for a long time,” she said. “I think together we can do a lot of things, and we will.”
The only other supervisor up for re-election next year is Steve Madrone in the Fifth District. Local realtor Larry Doss recently resigned from the Harbor District and moved from Eureka to Orick with the intention of challenging Madrone.
The primary election is scheduled for June 7 of next year.