By DEREK MOORE
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
State Sen. Noreen Evans on Tuesday left open the door to seeking a new job, including a seat on the California Court of Appeal and perhaps the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.
“It is no secret that one of my lifelong dreams is to serve on the bench, but that is solely within the governor’s discretion,” Evans wrote in a statement released in the afternoon.
The Santa Rosa Democrat, an attorney, also stated that she “currently” does not have plans to run for another public office, an apparent reference to speculation that she also will seek the Sonoma County Board of Supervisor’s seat being vacated by Valerie Brown.
But in the evening, during a brief interview at an event in Napa, she said “I have not ruled it out and I have not ruled it in,” when asked directly about the 1st District supervisors race next year.
“There is much to consider, including where I can best use my years of experience with the state budget crisis to assist my constituents in mitigating cuts to local services,” Evans wrote in her statement.
Her written and in-person comments came a day after sources confirmed that she submitted an application to Gov. Jerry Brown asking him to appoint her as an appellate justice.
Asked Tuesday evening about when she had submitted the application for a judgeship, she said she “will not confirm or deny” having done so.
Applying for a judgeship less than nine months into her four-year term as a state senator, as well as talk about a bid for a county supervisor’s seat, has led to speculation that she is dissatisfied in her current job.
Answering questions as she arrived at the Skyline Park Social Center in Napa, where she was to be honored by the California Native Plant Society as its Legislator of the Year, Evans said she “is committed to doing my job.”
That echoed her earlier statement that she is focused on getting bills that were passed by the Legislature signed by the governor and preparing for next year’s legislative session. “My highest priority has always been to serve the best interests of my constituents,” she wrote.
But her search for new employment could become a political liability, not just in Sacramento but in the county supervisor’s contest should Evans decide to enter the fray.
In one scenario, Evans could be running for the county seat, waiting on the judgeship and simultaneously trying to meet the demands of being a state senator.
Brown, who is retiring, said Evans’ potentially seeking to leave her current post “matters vastly.”
“We just elected her as a state senator,” Brown said Tuesday. “Should she go to the state court system or run for supervisor, we are going to be in the position of electing another senator.”
A special election would have to be held to replace Evans should she step down early. The costs for such an election in Sonoma County alone could run at least $500,000, unless the contest could be bundled with another race.
Candidates who’ve already announced their intention to replace Brown said Tuesday they would make Evans’ job search an issue should she enter the local contest.
“When one puts themselves on the ballot to do a job, I believe they should do it,” said Santa Rosa City Councilman John Sawyer. “It’s not about convenience. It’s not about money. It’s a major commitment.”
Gina Cuclis, a communications consultant and member of the county’s Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Advisory Board, said the “question becomes who in this race really wants to be supervisor.”
Mark Bramfitt, an energy consultant and board member of the Valley of the Moon Water District and Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission, expressed a similar sentiment.
Nevertheless, he said he considers Evans such a formidable foe that were she to enter the race he said he’d consider dropping out.
“That’s conceivable,” he said.