CARLSBAD — Weeks of speculation and rumor has finally ended for a second candidate for the open seat in District 3.
Kris Urdahl, 65, announced recently she will take on Priya Bhat-Patel for the seat being vacated by Michael Schumacher, who said last month he will not seek re-election.
Now, Urdahl, another political neophyte, is in the midst of developing her team, website and social media channels as the early stages of her campaign begin. if an incumbent is running, the official filing period is from July 16 until Aug. 10. If no incumbent runs, the deadline extension for non-incumbents is Aug. 15.
The other races include the mayoral campaign featuring incumbent Matt Hall and Councilwoman Cori Schumacher and in District 1 with incumbent Mark Packard being challenged by Mary Anne Viney.
“I had a large group of friends who encouraged me to run and I said, ‘I’m happy to do that,’” Urdahl said. “I’m not a career politician, always was a volunteer servant leader (poll and precinct work).”
Bhat-Patel, meanwhile, is running on a platform of community first and transparency to put Carlsbad first.
“Our campaign is a positive campaign based on maintaining the quality of life for Carlsbad,” Bhat-Patel said in a statement. “We’re focused on community, health and transparency. We will welcome anyone in the race who will run with the best interest of Carlsbad residents in mind.”
Urdahl, now retired, spent her career in the insurance industry in marketing, underwriting and management, majored in political science at Occidental College and is registered for the Citizens Academy later this year. Her husband, Jeff, is a member of the Certified Emergency Response Team.
But now, Urdahl is ready to start campaigning about the issues. One is the new district format the city adopted last year, and how it changes the dynamics of the election.
In District 3, she said coastal improvements, the Poinsettia extension and the balance between the business sector and residents are three of her top priorities. Developing and maintaining coast access, she said, is of utmost importance for residents and tourists, since the beach is a natural draw to the city.
The Poinsettia extension, which will connect Poinsettia Lane west of El Camino Real, is a priority to ensure its completion, while the balance of life between development and residents is another.
“The thing I think Carlsbad has done so well is balance a large residential area with a large tourist destination area and bringing in business so that people can work here,” Urdahl said. “I love the balance from the coast to our interior with some of the businesses. The total focus is what does Carlsbad need and how does that affect District 3.”
As for the city, two of the most pressing issues are the McClellan-Palomar Airport Master Plan update and the Village and Barrio Master Plan.
Many believe it is in the city’s interest to vote on the update despite an opposite position taken by an independent legal firm hired by the city. Urdahl agreed with the recommendation from the legal team, and said the proposal could help with alleviating traffic on Interstate 5 for some commuters and support the business community. However, she also does not believe it will become the next John Wayne Airport, a popular position with those opposed to the update.
“We’re concerned, but I don’t think it’s something we can vote on,” Urdahl added. “We can be heard and express our opinions. I don’t see it as a John Wayne. Both pros and cons to weigh on that.”
As for the Village and Barrio Master Plan, Urdahl said it is important for the city to continue with its small-town feel and consistency with the current charm of the Village and Barrio.
“I do believe we want to retain the flavor of the Village,” she said. “When we improve sections, we just want to retain the character. We want to be careful and don’t exceed the ability of that neighborhood to handle the type of structures that go in it.”
Though both are political newcomers, Urdahl said she brings experience and wisdom in her race against Bhat-Patel. Urdahl said her experience in her career, volunteering on numerous boards will be beneficial to the city. She added it is also important for the city to ensure it keeps in lock step with technological advances, such as the traffic signals, to keep services at a high level.