When Andrew Engdahl decided to run for Congress, it was at a time of major uncertainty.
“I made the decision to run during the height of the pandemic when it wasn’t clear where this disease was going, where our democracy was headed,” he said.
This, coupled with what he saw as then-President Donald Trump’s “increasingly authoritarian rhetoric,” gave Engdahl a need to try to unify at a time of great division. The attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 only exacerbated his decision.
“It just made it clear that now is not the time to sit on the sidelines,” he said. “I want to try and do something to unite our people and get us focused on solving the problems that we’re facing together, rather than continuing the further the divide that exists in this nation.”
Engdahl, a Democrat from Santa Rosa, is running in the newly drawn 4th District, which consists of all of Lake and Napa counties as well as portions of Sonoma, Yolo and Solano counties, including Vacaville, Dixon and Rio Vista. The new seat comprises a lot of the current 5th District, which is represented by Rep. Mike Thompson who is also running in this new district.
Engdahl has spent the last nine years in the tech industry and is currently an account executive with a company called Postclick, which specializes in digital advertising conversions. Prior to that, he was a classically trained historian.
“I wanted to be a history professor out of college but ended up going into the professional world and hadn’t looked back until relatively recently to make this decision,” he said.
When Engdahl first decided to run, a priority was to assist small businesses in Benicia and Vallejo. Solano’s district boundaries changed with redistricting, but he is still striving to achieve this goal with the cities in Solano that are in his district.
“Given that the borders have gone north, it’s obviously increasingly agricultural, but I would still say the biggest economies outside of manufacturing and biotech, which is starting to emerge more heavily in places like Vacaville, would be the service economy.”
Engdahl wants to ensure that the small businesses that were heavily impacted during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic are supported.
Engdahl also said the district is highly prone to wildfires, ad more should be done to mitigate the threat.
“A lot of our economy and resources are based in agriculture, and with a drought community, water is a major contentious issue,” he said. “Protecting water rights for our citizens is very important.”
Engdahl also wants to prioritize tackling climate change “in a meaningful way that isn’t just on individuals making decisions but rather holding the biggest polluters accountable.”
“That’s probably one of the biggest things I stand for is being a good steward toward our environment and curtailing carbon emissions,” he said. “If we don’t stop climate change as it is currently projected, everything that we have fought so hard for is at risk.”
To that end, Engdahl wants to invest in renewable energy such as biodegradable single-use packaging.
Other priorities include reforming the criminal justice system, including helping reformed inmates reassimilate into society and treating addiction as a medical rather than a civil issue, downsizing the Patriot Act and encouraging those who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 to do so.
“Look to your medical professional for advice on that rather than your politician,” he said.
Engdahl also wants to motivate others to serve their communities, regardless of how his campaign turns out.
“The biggest thing I’m focus on is trying to do something to inspire others to pick up the cause of the united American people that will choose love over hate, wisdom over ignorance and a brighter future for everyone, not just those with the means to help themselves,” he said. “If I can inspire others that might be more qualified, that might have more resources, might be better fitted to do this, then I’ve done my job, but until then…I’m gonna put myself forward and do everything that I can to help my community and my country.”
Engdahl is currently working on a campaign website that he hopes will go live within the next month. Until then, he will be providing information and updates on his campaign on Twitter at Twitter.com/AndrewEngdahl, Instagram at Instagram.com/engdahl_usa/ and LinkedIn at Linkedin.com/in/andrewengdahl/.
Other candidates in the 4th District race include Thompson, Matthew Brock and Scott Giblin.
For more information on the 4th Congressional District election and other races, go to Solanocounty.com/depts/rov/.
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