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THE RACE FOR COUNTY SUPERVISOR | Alex Garcia

Wasco mayor wants to represent rural areas

First in a series of interviews with candidates for Kern County supervisor in the 4th District, including the Shafter and Wasco areas.

VERONICA JACUINDE

The Shafter Press and Wasco Tribune

Alex Garcia was born and raised in Wasco. He attended Fresno State University and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Garcia moved back to Kern County in 2015 to work for Assemblyman Rudy Salas as a field representative for Arvin, Lamont, Wasco and Shafter.

“I built good relationships in those communities that I still maintain today,” he said.

In 2016, he left the Assembly and ran for City Council. “This will be my eighth year serving my third term as city mayor. During my time, we’ve done many outside-the-box activities.”

These would include “Mondays with the Mayor,” an open-door office hours, which he is bringing back this year, “for people to share their concerns and complaints with the mayor. And in alignment with building healthy communities, we also introduced ‘Mayors and Moms,’ a short series introduced during the pandemic. We did Zumba in the park and a number of neighborhood community meetings. All of this, to the labor camp clean up and helping to start the brand new police department.”

He said that Kern County is facing many challenges. “But primary among them is selecting the next chief administrative officer, in addition to resolving the recruitment and retainment crisis our county faces from public safety and other public workers.”

He also sees the importance of careful funding distribution, including “equitable allocation of the new Measure K dollars to our rural outlying communities and investing and protecting our public spaces is my third priority. For too long, our regional parks have lacked the investment and maintenance district four families deserve. Did you know that Kern County doesn’t have a park and recreational department? I will make it my priority to advocate for the establishment of a master plan maintenance budget for each of our county parks. In addition to hiring a bonafide parks and recreation director.”

He believes he is the most qualified candidate. “In 2022, voters passed term limits for our county supervisors, and if that is not a mandate for change, then I don’t know what is. District 4 deserves a supervisor reflective of our communities — a voice for our majority rural families. Our small towns and unincorporated areas have gone without adequate resources and support from our county government for too long. I will be a champion for rural Kern. District 4 families should not have to wait eight more years for the change they deserve.”

Regarding the most pressing issues, he said, “From my conversations with business leaders and industry in Kern, what we lack most to attract growth and new jobs in our region would be a fully skilled workforce. As we transition into the jobs of the 21st century, we need to work with our partners at the Kern Community College District and our brothers and sisters in labor to bolster vocational training and apprenticeship programs. Ensuring a pool of higher skilled workers will equal higher paying jobs, which is good for everybody’s household economies.”

He said he has the leadership qualities a supervisor should have, “For one, I am not a career politician. My greatest asset is my heart. I need no title or position to serve my community. I am passionate about my public service. My accomplishments and lessons learned in my decade as a community leader make me the best candidate for the job.”

For his long-term vision, he said there are brighter days ahead when there is teamwork. “In this day and age, voters aren’t looking for perfect community leaders; they are looking for public servants that can work across the aisle with everyone to achieve our shared goals. I have a record of doing just that on the Wasco City Council, the Kern Council of Governments and the Kern Health Systems board.”

 

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