During my ten years as a Supervisor for District 5, this is the only elected Board I have worked with. Early on, I took some time to get to know the other Supervisors and what their districts were all about. These Supervisors helped guide me to understand just what it took to be a member of this Board.
Now, after working together for ten years, I consider them friends. With Supervisor Ishida and Supervisor Cox leaving our Board in January, we face some big changes ahead. Both of these Supervisors have made important and unique contributions to their districts, to the Board, and to the people of Tulare County.
Throughout his 12 years on this Board, Supervisor Ishida has been involved in many important committees and has been an advocate for the residents of Tulare County in the areas of District 1. One example is his advocacy for the railroad. Supervisor Ishida serves on the California Rail Advisory Committee and his advocacy work in this area shined during his efforts to save the rail line to Strathmore. Rails and railroads are vital for industrial use and this is an important issue to our Board of Supervisors.
Besides Supervisor Ishida’s work in this area, his district is the next door neighbor to my district. Our constituents share many of the same concerns and both have mountain areas, heavy tree mortality areas, and incorporated cities. Because of this, we have worked closely over the years and have become good friends.
Supervisor Cox represents District 3. When I look at the Board and the districts each Supervisor represents, Supervisor Cox has it the most difficult out of all of us. Our role as Supervisors is to represent the constituents in the unincorporated communities and District 3 has few unincorporated communities, so it makes it difficult to advocate on their behalf and not interfere with the City of Visalia.
However, one of Supervisor Cox’s many accomplishments during his tenure on the Board of Supervisors is his role in creating the Step Up program. The Step Up program unifies efforts county-wide to create and implement plans to combat gang activity in Tulare County. Through this several youth-centered programs emerged including: the Summer Night Lights events; Loop Bus program; the #LEAD program; and the Step Up Youth Challenge.
These programs all provide opportunities for youth to get involved in their communities and be a part of the solution of combating gangs in Tulare County. They also engage many community partners with this goal, including those in the business sector, education sector, residents, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, and local law enforcement agencies.
Each Supervisor brings their own unique background and experiences to the Board when they are elected. During their time on the Board, they get involved with different committees and causes that are important to their districts. During this time of transition, we reflect on the accomplishments that both Supervisor Ishida and Supervisor Cox have achieved during their time on the Board of Supervisors and we wish them well in their new endeavors.