Santa Cruz County Supervisor candidate Felipe Hernandez defeated Jimmy Dutra in the District 4 race. (Contributed)

Candidate Total
JIMMY DUTRA 3959 (41.55%)
FELIPE HERNANDEZ 5442 (57.11%)


WATSONVILLE >> Felipe Hernandez defeated Jimmy Dutra in the District 4 Santa Cruz County supervisor race, according to official election results posted Dec. 6.

Hernandez has served on the Watsonville City Council and Dutra currently serves on the Watsonville City Council. The District 4 supervisor is elected by voters in South County. The seat is now held by Greg Caput. Learn more about the supervisor’s role.

Where the candidates stand

Santa Cruz Local surveyed and conducted in-person interviews with dozens of voters in county supervisor District 4 this year.

Voters’ top priorities were:

  • Attracting well-paying jobs.
  • Attracting recreation and leisure activities for families.
  • Advocating for Watsonville and District 4.
  • Building affordable housing.

Felipe Hernandez

  • Hernandez said he wanted to continue to expand trade apprenticeship programs in Watsonville such as those at a Cabrillo College site at 318 Union St. He said he wants more training programs in Watsonville because young people often commute to certificate programs in Salinas, Castroville and Monterey.
  • Hernandez said he supported jobs in the building trades. “They have livable wages but also they have full benefits, full pensions. So those are the kind of jobs we need for folks,” Hernandez said. Hernandez said he wanted to try to spur business in District 4 with favorable tax rules through a potential Opportunity Zone designation as parts of Santa Cruz have.
  • Hernandez cited a need for more soccer fields in District 4. He said the need came up in intergovernmental meetings with state Assemblymember Robert Rivas and there is potential state funding for soccer fields. Some new fields could be built at Ramsay Park in Watsonville, Hernandez said.
  • Hernandez said he planned to discuss with supervisors “if they would be willing” to raise the county’s inclusionary rate to 25%. The rate essentially mandates the percentage of units in a proposed housing complex that must be “affordable” based on state-defined income limits. An inclusionary rate that is low could hinder the development of affordable homes because fewer homes would be designated affordable. An inclusionary rate too high could deter developers from building if it doesn’t “pencil out” or make a project financially feasible.
  • Read more about Felipe Hernandez in Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide.

Jimmy Dutra

  • When asked about attracting high-quality employers, Dutra said he has worked on the Downtown Watsonville Specific Plan. “Hopefully when that is finished, we’re going to be able to create opportunities for a lot of businesses.” Dutra said during his work on the board of the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District, bus driver retention has been difficult. He said wages may have to rise to meet that need. Dutra said the issue of living wages “is definitely a conversation that we need to have in our county.”
  • When asked about attracing more family-oriented businesses and activities to Watsonville, Dutra said he and other Watsonville City Council members have directed millions of dollars toward the development of Ramsay Park in Watsonville. “We’re going to be building a beautiful nature center for the youth to be able to enjoy,” Dutra said. Dutra noted that the city’s Parks and Recreation programs meet many families’ needs. He said he’d like to see more partnerships with the Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters to create youth programs.
  • Read more about Dutra in Santa Cruz Local’s Election Guide.

Read more about early results:

Measure O

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Stephen Baxter is a co-founder and editor of Santa Cruz Local. He covers Santa Cruz County government.