Ten local organizations are expected to endorse John Buttny’s candidacy for 3rd District supervisor at a joint press conference today at noon.

The Santa Barbara County Action Network (SB CAN), a countywide organization of 600 members that promotes environmental conservation and social justice issues, is hosting the event at the SB County government building on the corner of Anacapa and Anapamu Streets. Speakers from several groups will present their reasons for supporting Buttny, which were based on independent interviews conducted with the candidates, said SB CAN Executive Director David Fortson.

Fortson said today’s endorsements would help voters choose candidates who share their concern for environmental protection issues.

“The endorsement is most valuable to remind people that the organizations that fight for those issues day in and day out have made a decision,” Fortson said.

In addition to SB CAN, the nine other organizations endorsing Buttny include the Citizens for Goleta Valley, the Democratic Women of SB County, the SB Women’s Political Committee, Service Employees International Union Local 535 and 620, PUEBLO and the SB League of Conservation Voters.

Buttny said the endorsement by these democratic and pro-environmental groups would help define him as a candidate.

“It will help distinguish me from other candidates, specifically Brooks Firestone, who has a horrible voting record on the environment in the assembly,” Buttny said. “[The endorsements] might help convince people who are undecided and who are not Republican ideologues.”

Firestone defended his environmental voting record during the time he served in the state assembly, saying the League of Conservation Voters ranked him as ‘average’ or ‘above average’ during three out of the four years he served.

“I think I have a better balance of support and proven support for the environment,” Firestone said. “I’m personally caring for over 1,200 oak trees. I walk the walk in that regard.”

Firestone said some of his support for environmental protections, such as an assembly bill that would restrict the burning of tire casings, has been overlooked by conservation groups and that he expected these groups to endorse Buttny, “unfortunately because they’ve become partisan.”

While he said he would like the endorsement of environmental groups, Firestone said he was happy with the endorsements he already has, such as those from the Santa Barbara County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, county firefighters, 10 former SB county supervisors and even some “leading democrats.”

Concurrent with today’s endorsement press conference, all four 3rd District candidates are scheduled to participate in a debate at the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce (SBRCC) to discuss issues affecting the county’s economy.

The debate will take place from noon to 2 p.m. at the SBRCC first floor conference room, located at 924 Anacapa St. in downtown Santa Barbara.