Are You Visalia’s Next City Council Member?

Anyone interested in running for the Visalia City Council or the Visalia Unified School District Board can file papers until August 9. In the event that an incumbent does not file by 5 p.m. on August 9, the filing period is extended to August 14. As far as the city council is concerned, all three incumbents have expressed their intent to defend their seat and have started the filing process.

Candidates can pick up and file a Declaration of Candidacy in the Election Office at 5951 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia. Office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 8 a.m. to noon on Friday. According to the Tulare County Registrar of Voters website, 57 people have filed papers as of July 30th for the 108 contests.

The Visalia City Council has three seats up for election: those currently held by Warren Gubler, Steve Nelsen and Greg Collins. Gubler and Nelsen declared their intention to file a month ago. Collins took a few more weeks to make his final decision. The time and energy needed to manage a successful campaign left Collins thinking twice about running. But, in the end, serving his community is what Collins loves to do.

Four other candidates have started the filing process for Visalia City Council: Vincent Salinas, who has been on the Visalia Planning Commission for that past nine years; Michael Brown, a local lawyer; Todd Housley, a local business owner; and Kevin Wayne Long, who did not list a profession.

The Visalia Unified School Board is elected by district. Those trustees whose terms are up are: Tim Chaney, area 1; Jim L. Qualls, area 2; Rodney Elder, area 3; and Charles Ulmschneider, area 4. The districts were redrawn last year, so each incumbent’s area may have been changed.

Qualls has filed, and word on the street is that Ulmshneider is considering. (Ulmshneider has not responded to our phone messages.) Neither Elder nor Chaney will be running as both will be moving out of their districts. Juan Guerrero has declared his candidacy and has already procured endorsements from Elder and Qualls. Guerrero was a VUSD trustee between 2001 and 2009. His primary concern for running is maintaining the institutional knowledge of the board with so many incumbents leaving. He will be running in area 2. Three other non-incumbents have started the filing process to run for VUSD, one of whom will run against Ulmshneider.

Tulare County Supervisors do not hold their elections on odd years. Supervisors Pete Vander Poel and Steve Worthley are up for reelection in November 2014.

Exeter, Farmersville and Woodlake unified school districts have also changed from odd-year to even-year elections to coincide with state and federal elections. This not only saves money but produces a much higher voter turnout.
Election day is November 5.

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