Joan Hartmann has been dedicated to serving the people of Santa Barbara County for many years. Her journey of service began as a County Planning Commissioner for three years, and since 2017, she has been tirelessly working as the 3rd District County Supervisor.
Her top priorities as supervisor include fostering a transition to a renewable energy economy and creating economic opportunities for all. She has played a pivotal role in developing essential initiatives such as Broadband for All and a Regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, which have not only positioned the County for significant state and federal funding but also are opening new doors to prosperity for its residents. In recent times, focusing on workforce housing has become critical, aiming to ensure that people who work here can readily access and afford housing in the area.
An ardent advocate for preserving our natural treasures, Joan has a special place in her heart for safeguarding open spaces, especially along the breathtaking Gaviota Coast. She believes in promoting active living and has been instrumental in championing parks and trails across the County. Her commitment extends to our most vulnerable citizens as well; Joan chairs both the KIDS and Adult and Aging Networks, demonstrating her unwavering dedication to the welfare of children and seniors.
Joan’s compassion extends to addressing homelessness in our community. She has pioneered innovative solutions, including the use of tiny home villages as a successful alternative to encampments. In her role as chair of the countywide Elected Leaders Forum on Homelessness, she has made a meaningful impact in the lives of those experiencing homelessness. In the last three years, homelessness among veterans has dropped by two-thirds and next year should drop to zero.
Beyond her public service, Joan has been an integral part of Santa Barbara County since 1999. She has devoted her time to advocating for foster children as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and has served on various boards and committees, including the Wildling Museum’s Board of Directors, the Fund for Santa Barbara’s Grant Making Committee, and the Santa Barbara Foundation’s LEAF Advisory Committee.
Joan earned her Ph.D. and J.D degrees. Her career began in academia, where she served as Director of the Public Policy Program at the Claremont Graduate School; Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies and Government at Oberlin College; and later as an adjunct professor of Environmental Studies at USC. She was editor-in-chief of Environmental Law and has worked in the policy and budget offices and as legal counsel for several federal government agencies: the Congressional Research Service, the Department of the Interior and the U.S. EPA, Region 3. She helped found the Southern California Wetlands Recovery Project, a novel public-private partnership to restore coastal Southern California rivers and wetlands from Pt. Conception to the border with Mexico.
Joan’s dedication to democracy and community engagement is evident in her leadership on initiatives such as the Buellton Urban Growth Boundary, ensuring that decisions about city expansion are made collectively by the people. She has also provided valuable guidance to the Goodland Coalition, which successfully advocated for a similar initiative in Goleta.
Joan, a proud parent and grandparent, lives in the Santa Ynez Valley with her husband, James (Jim) Powell, a science writer, along with their many non-human companions.
Joan is a dedicated public servant and a compassionate advocate who tirelessly works for the betterment of Santa Barbara County and its residents.
For appointments related to County Business please call the Third District Scheduler at (805) 568-2192.
For issues related to Lompoc, call Lompoc Third District Representative Alma Hernandez at (805) 699-1140.
For issues related to the Santa Ynez Valley Representative Meighan Dietenhoffer at (805) 686-5095.
To reach the Campaign please call (805) 448-0663.