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Imperial Valley candidates engage with public in event hosted by Chamber of Commerce

The Desert Review - Feb 27, 2024

EL CENTRO — Imperial Valley candidates running for elected positions attended a public meet and greet at Desert Trails RV Park's Ryerson Hall on February 21. The Government Affairs Committee at the Imperial Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce (IVRCC) hosted the gathering.

The Government Affairs Committee, co-chaired by Michelle Solorio, invited 22 candidates to introduce themselves and explain why they are running with a two-minute time limit. The goal was to connect with the community and build familiarity with the upcoming elections.

Solorio wanted everyone to come and meet the candidates, talk to them, and mingle. "I would say it was a successful event. It's a full event," said Solorio.

"I think a lot of times people who are voting don't necessarily know about someone," said Sher Cowie, the CEO of the Imperial Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce. "They may get a flyer in the mail or they may read something online, but they don't get an opportunity to know the person."

Miguel Chapa, Oscar Ortiz, and Ian M. Weeks are running for Congress in District 25. Chapa said they have the power to send the next congressman to Washington for District 25. Ortiz mentioned the need for leadership at the federal level, for communication and education. Weeks expressed a commitment to restoring traditional and societal values.

Tomás Oliva, Edgard Garcia, Eric L. Rodriguez, Kalin Morse, Joey Acuña Jr., and Waymond Fermon are running for the 36th California Assembly District. Oliva talked about his experience as a senior field representative for members of Congress over the last eight years. Garcia said his experience as a lawyer and small business owner for fifteen years equips him to analyze legislation. Rodriguez stated that his candidacy is built on a foundation of new ideas and policies that he believes will benefit the community.

Acuña Jr. positioned himself as someone with a diverse background and unique perspective on community issues, like education and healthcare. Fermon focused on affordable housing and public safety, drawing attention to improving the quality of life. 

Morse said he was dissatisfied with the state's financial policies. "The state of California has engaged in tyranny, stealing the money out of our pockets daily," said Morse.

Felipe Irigoyen and Margarita “Peggy” Price are running for County Board of Supervisors, District 3. Irigoyen prioritized youth empowerment, job creation, and economic development. Price highlighted healthcare, public safety, and the county budget.

Diahna Garcia Ruiz, Ashley Bertussi, and Martha Cardenas-Singh are running for the District 2 seat on the Imperial County Board of Supervisors. Ruiz spoke about her extensive experience, strong work ethic, and commitment to addressing critical issues. Bertussi mentioned her experience, dedication, and fresh perspective. Cardenas-Singh emphasized her leadership experience, commitment to economic growth, and dedication to public safety.

Yulil Alonso-Garza is running for the Imperial County Board of Supervisors District 4. Alonso-Garza expressed a commitment to economic development for families and healthy living conditions. 

Javier Gonzalez and Lewis Pacheco are running for the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) in District 4. Gonzalez highlighted IID's role in community cleanup, the establishment of a new Health, Safety, and Environmental Commission, and initiatives for bilingual services. Pacheco addressed the need for infrastructure development, particularly focusing on energy and water.

Cowie said they are committed to hosting three to four legislative events each year, with the current meet and greet being the first one for 2024.

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