First District Supervisor
Supervisor Das Williams was elected to represent the First District of Santa Barbara County in June 2016 and took office on January 2, 2017. Williams previously represented the area, along with over half of Santa Barbara County and a quarter of Ventura County in the California State Assembly from 2010-2016. Prior to his service in the Assembly, Williams served 7 years on the Santa Barbara City Council from 2003-2010 and also served as a trustee for Peabody Charter School in Santa Barbara.
Das grew up and attended local schools in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. He split his time between his mother who lived Ojai and his father who lived in Isla Vista. Developing into adolescence, Das chose to spend more and more time in Isla Vista, where his father was involved in governance issues causing Das to develop an interest in local politics and start volunteering on campaigns. He dropped out of high school during his senior year after he had to transfer from Dos Pueblos High School because of his mother moving to San Luis Obispo County. Instead of attending high school in San Luis Obispo County, Das opted to move back to Santa Barbara, having to live in his van, and attend Santa Barbara City College.
While a student at Santa Barbara City College, Das developed a passion for politics in classes with his favorite professor, Dr. Manoutchehr Eskandari-Qajar and travelled to South Africa to work for Nelson Mandela's African National Congress in South Africa's first democratic election in 1994.
After two and a half years at SBCC, Das transferred to UC Berkeley, from which he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science. Shortly after graduating from Berkeley, Das moved back to Santa Barbara and worked as a field organizer on Hannah-Beth Jackson's campaign for State Assembly. Following her win, he went on to work in both her Capitol and District offices before going on to work in other legislative offices in the Capitol.
Following this time in Sacramento, Das once again returned home to attend UCSB's Bren School. In 2003, while in graduate school at Bren, Das successfully ran for the Santa Barbara City Council and then attained his Master's Degree in Environmental Science & Management with a focus on water pollution, planning processes, and land-use law in 2005.
During his time as a Santa Barbara City Councilmember, Das began a record of accomplishments that would set the pace for a public service career that has now lasted 15 years. As a councilmember, he spearheaded the effort to require 30% of the city's energy to come from renewable sources by 2011, which was then one of the toughest energy efficiency standards in the state. He also established himself as a leader in the effort to stop offshore oil drilling, protecting the coast and local water supplies by working to restore local creeks and wetlands and preserve open space, and led the push to expand the city's public transit system. While serving as a Santa Barbara City Councilmember, Das also served on the Board of Trustees for Peabody Charter School where he helped avoid teacher layoffs during the Great Recession.
In 2010, Santa Barbara and Ventura County voters elected Das to represent them in the California State Assembly, and re-elected him twice in 2012 and 2014. He was termed out of the Assembly at the end of 2016, leaving behind a legacy of passing strict standards to decrease the state's dependence on fossil fuels and protect groundwater. Additionally, Das established himself as a champion for California's public higher education system, serving as chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee and authoring legislation focused on creating a dedicated revenue source for higher education and establishing harsher punishments for students who commit sexual assault.
Das was then elected to represent the First District of Santa Barbara County on its Board of Supervisors in 2016, a position he currently holds. As Supervisor, Das has provided leadership through the Thomas Fire and subsequent debris flow that rocked Santa Barbara County in addition to taking proactive leadership to develop clean energy locally and working to protect vital public services, such as our libraries.
In addition to sitting on the Board of Supervisors, Das serves on the following Boards and Commissions:
- Represents Santa Barbara County on the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) Executive Board
- Chair of CSAC Health and Human Services Policy Committee
- Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG)
- Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District (APCD)
- Beach Erosion Authority for Clean Oceans and Nourishment (BEACON)
- Multi-Jurisdictional Solid Waste Task Force
- Santa Barbara County Adult and Aging Network
- Chair of the Library Advisory Committee
- Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors' Library Ad Hoc Committee
- Home for Good Funders Collaborative
- Legislative Program Committee
- Santa Barbara County Psychiatric Health Facility Governing Board
- Alternate on the Local Agency Formation Commission
- Alternate on Santa Barbara County First 5 Commission
Das lives in Carpinteria with his wife Jonnie, who he married in 2011, and their two daughters: Ya'Ash (3) and Khaya (10 months).