Please, tell us about yourself:
I was born in El Centro and raised in Calexico, CA. I attended local schools: Our Lady of Guadalupe Academy and Vincent Memorial High School. I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of San Diego. I also graduated with a Masters in Banking from Pacific Coast Banking School.
Civic activities include being a proud member of the Calexico City Council. I am also past chair and current treasurer of the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation. I am a member of the San Diego-Imperial District Export Council. I am a board member of Border Communities Capital Company; an entity that invests new market tax credits in low-to-moderate income communities like Calexico. I am a past member of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Finance and Building Committee. I am past president of the Calexico Rotary Club and the Calexico Noontimer’s Lions Club. I was also a professor of business and finance at both Imperial Valley College and San Diego State University.
Professionally, I am a licensed US Customs Broker. I own and manage two offices, in San Diego and Calexico. I also enjoyed a successful 16-year banking career with Rabobank formerly Valley Independent Bank where I held the corporate title of Senior Vice-President and included job titles of Regional President, Commercial Banking Regional Manager and SBA Division Manager.
Why do you want to be a County Supervisor?
It is this final position at the bank as SBA Division Manager that brought me full circle to my banking origins as an SBA loan officer that propelled me to seek the office of County Supervisor district 1. SBA stands for small business administration and their motto is helping small businesses grow. This is the epicenter of what our community focal point should be.
Imperial County is in a natural logistics corridor with goods flowing in and out of our valley yet we are not capitalizing from this transfer of goods and services.
California became the 5th largest economy in the world, recently bettering the United Kingdom. This economic boom following our great recession was led by significant increases in real estate and financial services, the technology sector and manufacturing. What happened to our Imperial County? How did we benefit from this boom? The answer is we did not!
CA unemployment rate as of December 2017 was 4.3%, Imperial County was over 17%.
CA average income was $70,000, Imperial County a generous $42,000
Only 14% of our population has a bachelor’s degree!
The status quo is no longer acceptable. We must unite as a community and focus on economic development and job creation to move forward. New leadership is needed to address the multiple issues facing our county in the following years. A vision of progress, a vision of growth and development, that’s what the County needs!
What plans do you have to bring more economic development to District 1?
The County and specifically our District 1 made up almost entirely of the city of Calexico, has seen
significant financial setbacks. Private sector job creation is non-existent. We have no economic or industrial development and our next generation of college graduates have no opportunities to return to our valley and attain well paid, professionally fulfilling jobs.
We need to stimulate economic development and job creation by attracting and vigorously promoting businesses that want to do business in California and Mexico. We must sell them on our natural resources; abundant land, affordable housing, labor and utilities costs and our foreign trade zone designation.
You are running for this office nearly two years after being elected to council. Why running now?
Because our District 1, Calexico, needs help now. Not tomorrow or the next day. New leadership is needed that can work with existing County Supervisors, County staff and community stakeholders to propel and stimulate a new energetic business-oriented way of doing business. Once such example, the accelerated implementation of an economic business plan the will generate needed tax revenue for our county as well as becoming a vehicle for promotion and investment in our Imperial County.
How do you see the current representation of District 1 at the County Level so far?
A new vision is needed. Not one of talk and rhetoric but of action. Not settling for open lines of communication but focusing on specific plans with timeframes in place to move our aggressive economic agenda forward. One of collaboration and creativity with Supervisors and county staff to stimulate the county’s revenues streams. A new leadership that effectively thinks outside the box to solve the current and potential problems we face.
How will you work with our friends across the border to help the county and Calexico when it comes to cross-border issues?
One major cross-border issue that has plagued our district for years is border wait times on both sides of the border. Southbound traffic causes a significant amount of congestion at both the Calexico West and East port of entries. Many people do not realize that the Calexico East port of entry is part of the County. Not once has any type of traffic control or sheriff officer been present to appropriately direct traffic. This issue can be fixed but again new leadership is needed to appropriately implement and follow through on this issue.
From a federal port of entry perspective, we must continue to lobby Washington to provide the necessary assistance; from a funding to a personnel standpoint.
Action is needed now not just conversations. And action starts with lobbying Washington for the necessary support. Actively working with our Mexican counterparts is necessary but we must effectively address issues on our end.
Finally, we must continue to dialogue and foster the implementation of proper protocols to safeguard our border while effectively decreasing border wait times. Again, we must lobby Washington for investments in technology not a border wall.
What sets you apart from your opponent?
I have tenacity and am driven to actively support my community. Talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words. My educational, professional and civic involvement have provided an excellent vehicle for the challenge of aggressively supporting my District and Imperial County at the Supervisor Level.
I am a demonstrated team player that believes in active effective leadership and have extensive experience in leading multiple work teams to achieve their specific objectives.
As a customs broker, small business owner, with 16 years of banking experience specifically tied to commercial credit and management and a 15-year track record tied to economic development, I have been blessed with the tools necessary to effectively deal with, prioritize and implement objectives such as our county’s financial and port of entry issues. I can be a leader in stimulating economic development and fostering partnership to create jobs. This skillset will also allow me to contribute significantly to address the current issues affecting our community benefit and agricultural benefit programs. Revising these valuable programs to protect tax payer dollars yet investing in job creation that is desperately needed in our County.
What three issues will you tackle in your first year as Supervisor?
- Focus on economic development to stimulate the county’s revenue streams and create job opportunities for our community and the next generation of college graduates. Establish clear timelines and measurable to appropriately monitor progress.
- Work with our Board of Supervisors and county staff to effectively review our budget and make necessary changes for the benefit of both our employees and the Imperial County community ensuring both short term success and long term financial stability. This includes the stabilization of our community benefit and agricultural benefit programs.
- Efficiently address port of entry issues by lobbying Washington for funding of Phase II of our West port of entry and aggressively working with government agencies to control traffic congestion affecting our District.
How do you see the restoration efforts of the New River and Salton Sea?
The Salton Sea issue is past the open lines of communication phase. We must continue to lobby and be active players with state and federal officials as well as our Mexican counterparts to fully address the issues we face. Asthma and cancer are prevalent in Imperial County and will only get worse as the Salton Sea shoreline continues to recede.
Again, forward thinking, effective leadership is needed to push our agenda forward.
Why should the voters of District 1 vote for you?
I bring a much different dynamic to the table. I am a businessman with the skills set needed to effectively contribute from Day 1. My financial, leadership and interpersonal skills set me apart from our existing leadership. I am not a career politician but a business man that can effectively lead our county to prosper and thrive. A county where our next generation will look forward to returning and flourishing professionally while contributing to the community we all love.