SACRAMENTO  — In 2012, Betty Williams lost to incumbent Bonnie Pannell
by 213 votes for the Sacramento City Council’s District 8 seat. It was the closest campaign race for Ms. Pannell, who already held the seat for 14 years.

Ms. Williams, 62, who is the current president of the local NAAC, is throwing her hat in the District 8 race once again. She filed her papers with the Secretary of State a couple of weeks ago.

Ms. Williams’ reason for seeking the District 8 seat, she said, does not have anything to do with its current situation. An economic boost for an area of about 60,000 constituents is on Ms. Williams’ agenda.

“Things haven’t changed much as to why I’m running again,” Ms. Williams told The OBSERVER in a telephone interview. “But I would like District 8 to be the economic engine that downtown Sacramento is — I want it to be equal.”

The seat is currently held by Larry Carr who has decided not to seek reelection. Carr replaced Ms. Pannell when it was discovered that she was having medical issues and could not continue with her duties. She left the office in April 2014.

Ms. Pannell  passed away in June 2017 after suffering a medical condition called primary progressive aphasia. Carr won in a special election in November 2014 to serve out the remaining two years, and then he was reelected in 2016.

Carr did a tremendous job of carrying out Ms. Pannell’s vision. But there is more work to do and Ms. Williams insists that she is the person for the job.

“In my humble opinion, Larry probably helped facilitate some of the things that Bonnie had already done. He just made sure that they were completed,” Ms. Williams said of Carr’s service for the last five years. “I wish he had a stronger voice for our community to invite large corporations to our community and have them be a part of our community. We don’t have that. I wish he had pushed more for that in our district.”

Ms. Williams also said that her “first order of business” as a candidate for District 8 is to start campaigning for the position. Her focus is to focus on youth activities and support growth for Black and minority businesses. She also said that diversity in the community is her business.

More importantly, Williams wants to put another woman on the dais at Sacramento City Council meetings. Angelique Ashby of District 1 is the only woman a member of the council.

“They absolutely need another woman on that board,” Ms. Williams said. “She (Ashby) does a good job. But it needs to be just more than her.”

By Antonio R. Harvey |OBSERVER Staff Writer