Dan Hamburg came to Mendocino County in order to join the teaching staff of Mariposa School, where he taught from 1971 through 1975. In 1976, Dan was hired as director of the Ukiah Valley Child Development Center. That year he was also appointed to the Ukiah Planning Commission, on which he served until his election to the Board of Supervisors in 1980. While on the Board, the county wrote and passed its first legal General Plan and Local Coastal Plan. These documents have stood the test of time.
In 1992, Dan was elected to the House of Representatives from the first congressional district. The district ran from the Oregon border to the Carquinez Strait, 350 miles from north to south and encompassing six counties. During his single term in office, Dan worked for single-payer national health care, protecting old-growth forests, reducing the military budget, restoring fisheries, and much more.
In 1994, Dan lost his reelection in a national Republican landslide. The Democrats lost the House for the first time in 5 decades!
In 1995, Dan was hired by the National Democratic Institute, the “foreign policy arm of the Democratic Party,” as an advisor to the new government of Nelson Mandela. He spent a year training provincial legislators of all parties, but worked predominantly with the African National Congress (ANC), Mandela’s party.
Dan became executive director of Voice of the Environment in 1996. In that capacity, he has worked on many political campaigns including stopping a nuclear waste dump at Ward Valley, turning back an attempt by Wal-Mart, Inc. to restrict first amendment rights, protecting California’s “heritage trees,” and much more.
Over the four decades Dan has lived in Mendocino County, including the last 24 years in the Fifth District, he has always been engaged in local political issues. In the recent past, he was a leader of the Measure H campaign to ban genetically-modified organisms in the county. This ordinance was the first of its kind in the United States. He also worked hard to defeat Measure B, believing that the restrictions it placed on medical cannabis growers would lead to a frenzy of law enforcement action against small growers and resulting expense to the county.