District 2 Supervisor Randy Hanvelt will forego his rotation as chairman of the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors next year to take a new leadership role in a coalition that represents the policy interests of 35 California counties.

On Dec. 6, the Rural County Representatives of California Board of Directors approved Hanvelt’s ascension from second to first vice chairman of the coalition effective Jan. 1.

The former General Electric global executive said he hopes the position will give Tuolumne County a better seat at the table when it comes to state and federal policy matters.

“Having that position opens doors for me and Tuolumne County that normally wouldn’t,” Hanvelt said. “It helps us get our message and values across to the people who really make the decisions.”

Hanvelt was elected last year to serve as second vice chairman of the RCRC board, the only seat that’s technically up for grabs in the annual election.

The seats cycle upward after the second vice chairman, meaning Hanvelt would be next in line to serve as chairman in 2019 if he’s re-elected as District 2 supervisor next year.

Each county in the coalition has one member and alternate on the board who must be elected supervisors.

Ryan Campbell, a county administrative analyst, and David Titchenal, one of the organizers behind the local State of Jefferson chapter, have both pulled papers to start the process of running for the District 2 seat next year.

District 2 covers the northwestern portion of the county that includes the communities of Cedar Ridge, Soulsbyville, Willow Springs, Crystal Falls and Phoenix Lake.

Hanvelt said he’s worked hard over the past seven years as District 2 supervisor to make connections in the California State Legislature and Washington, D.C., where he was asked to testify before a congressional subcommittee on federal forest management policies in 2015.

“The way you get things done is being connected,” Hanvelt said.

In the new role, Hanvelt hopes to continue pushing for policies that he believes would improve the health of forests with the help of industries such as biomass energy and logging.

Hanvelt is currently the vice chairman of the Board of Supervisors as well. He announced at a meeting Tuesday that he would abdicate his rotation as the board chairman next year due to the additional responsibilities of his new role in the RCRC and running for re-election.

Supervisors take turns serving as the board chair for a year. The position’s responsibilities include running meetings, making committee assignments and putting items on the agenda.

District 1 Supervisor Sherri Brennan has served as board chairwoman this year.

Hanvelt recommended District 4 Supervisor John Gray, the longest serving member of the board who was first elected in 2009, to become the board chairman in 2018.

Contact Alex MacLean at amaclean@uniondemocrat.com or (209) 588-4530.

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