Home / LATEST NEWS / COLAB of Imperial County Hosts Final Candidate Forum for Imperial Irrigation District Division 4

COLAB of Imperial County Hosts Final Candidate Forum for Imperial Irrigation District Division 4


The Coalition of Labor, Agriculture, and Business (COLAB) of Imperial County held the final candidate forum for the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) Division 4 race on Feb. 15. The highly anticipated event took place at the historic Women’s Improvement Club in Calexico, where three out of the five candidates vying for the position participated.

The forum aimed to offer a platform for the candidates to present their visions, articulate their plans, and address the concerns of the local community. Unfortunately, two of the contenders, Rodolfo Valdez and Michael Jeffers, failed to attend the event, despite confirming their attendance beforehand. It appears that Valdez and Jeffers may no longer be viable contenders in the Division 4 race, as their absence raises concerns about their dedication to the position and their ability to meet the demands of the role.

While the absence of Valdez and Jeffers was disappointing, the three participating candidates, Javier Gonzalez, Lewis Pacheco, and Joong Kim, seized the opportunity to passionately engage with the audience and showcase their qualifications for the Division 4 seat on the IID board.

Javier Gonzalez, the incumbent, touted his success in replacing failing street lights; over half were in poor condition. In the last three years, IID installed state-of-the-art LED lights on 90% of existing streetlights, initiated ARBOR Day celebrations, and repaired canal fences. Addressed canal safety and extreme heat-related electricity bills. Committed to transparency and being a strong voice for the Calexico community’s improvement.

Lewis Pacheco, a former Mayor of Calexico and current Calexico School Board trustee underscores the pressing need for economic growth in the Imperial Valley. Pacheco emphasizes the strategic focus on the entire valley, envisioning the integration of industry, housing, and jobs. He highlights the valley’s advantageous position with abundant land, water, and energy resources, positioning it as an ideal hub for comprehensive economic development. Pacheco’s commitment resonates with the potential to transform the Imperial Valley into a thriving center of opportunity and prosperity.

Joong Kim, a former Calexico Councilman and 43-year business veteran, says he understands the challenges the community faces. He proposes a transformative plan for IID, shifting to renewable energy, creating jobs, and enabling residents to generate income through solar power. Kim says IID will provide free installation and maintenance of solar panels for all homes and structures. With a highly affordable rate, IID will not only facilitate energy independence but also buy surplus energy, ensuring every household generates income.

The candidates engaged in a lively discussion, addressing topics such as water conservation, energy diversification, customer rates, and the future of the IID. The forum allowed the audience to gauge the candidates’ knowledge, problem-solving abilities, and capacity to represent the interests of the community effectively.

The entire forum can be seen on Beyond Borders Gazette Facebook page to listen to their statements in full. 


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