Born and raised in Wasco, Alex Garcia is taking on the role of mayor for the third time. It is his continued love of public service that has kept him in local politics for almost a decade.
Garcia is a small business owner of a real estate company and director of the Kern Economic Development Corporation as a representative for Wasco.
He said that Wasco is a growing community with small-town values and is a great place to raise a family, start a business, buy a home and thrive.
As his third time as mayor (serving in 2019 and 2021), there are some things he plans to do the same, such as bringing back "Mondays with the Mayor."
"It was a monthly office hours open door session for residents, business owners and community groups to visit with me about matters affecting our community. It was also an opportunity for residents to get to know me on a personal, in-depth level. I met many amazing people and doers in the community last time we held this series. I look forward to another successful year with these office hours."
There are things he will do differently.
"I'm eager to work closer with our business community. Both large and small businesses have an intrinsic stake in the direction our community is heading in. As Wasco continues to grow, every voice must be included at the table. As a small business owner, I would like to see the Wasco Chamber of Commerce return so that we can continue providing vital resources and support to business owners in Wasco."
Garcia said he was inspired to pursue the role of mayor because of his passion for local government. "But let's be clear about the roles and responsibilities of the title. As small-town politics would have it, Wasco traditionally rotates the position of mayor amongst your sitting council members. Nevertheless, it does require the appointment and approval of my council colleagues, which I unanimously received."
He hopes to focus on key initiatives and priorities during his tenure as mayor. "First and foremost is the successful implementation of the Wasco Police Department. That is paramount. Making sure we get this right the first time is our responsibility to our residents."
Continuing to foster a thriving business community is also very important to him. "It has given us so much growth in recent years. For example, we've seen big box brands like Ross, Grocery Outlet and Dutch Bros join our city. Still, we've also seen the growth and expansion of local businesses, from California Home Pros establishing a new and bigger location in addition to La Imperial Taqueria taking over the old Teresa's Mexican Restaurant. We've also seen an explosion of entrepreneurship locally since the pandemic. All this means Wasco is growing in a positive direction. And I'm so proud to be leading during this time."
"Finally, seeing through the completion of the demolition of the former farm labor housing complex, which is currently underway and estimated to be about halfway to completion. It's been a long time coming since the last time I was mayor. It's thanks to the city staff for stewarding this fight every step of the way."
He sees one of the most pressing challenges facing Wasco is a housing shortage on two fronts.
"Besides the persistent need for affordable housing in our community, Wasco also lacks move-up housing. You might ask what that means. In my opinion, that is the larger and bigger homes that people need when they outgrow their starter home. And when Wasco families are ready to do that, unfortunately, we lose them to other communities."
His first office hours will be Monday, Jan. 29, from 4 to 6 p.m. at La Imperial Taqueria at 441 F St.