Reader: Important That Supervisor Candidates Represent All Constituents

A letter to the Valley Voice Editor:

In a recent correspondence, James Henderson, the Chairman of the Republican Party of Tulare County bragged, “We currently have all 5 REPUBLICAN Supervisors…”. He was pleading with his Republican base to hold the line. Shouldn’t we be asking, “Who will represent the other 76,618 Tulare County people who are have registered declined to state or under one of the six other political parties?” Think about that number for a moment.

As many people in the community know, I am a strong proponent of keeping party loyalty out of nonpartisan elections: the candidates should be elected based on their own merits and ought to represent the needs of all constituents. The very notion of nonpartisan elections grew out of the early 20th century, and was intended to combat the corruption and one-sided influence prevalent in the big-city political machines of the time. The intent has not changed: nonpartisan candidates are expected to remain unbiased toward any particular political group when making official decisions. Even the official Voter Guide that was mailed to every registered voter, clearly states,

“Political parties are not entitled to nominate candidates for nonpartisan offices at the primary election…” and “A candidate for nomination to a nonpartisan office may not designate his or her party preference, or lack of party preference, on the ballot.” Now, I am not so naïve as to think that we can keep partisanship completely out of elections, however, haven’t we moved far from the spirit of the agreement?

In 2014, I spoke out against my own local Democratic Party leaders who were threatening expulsion from party organizations, if anyone supported a known Republican. They would not even make an exception for the critical nonpartisan races of Sheriff and District Attorney. Now it looks like our local Republican leadership needs to be reminded that we are ALL tired of the same old loyalty tactics that have brought us to the ugly political climate we find ourselves. We will be making our decision for the open Supervisor seats based on qualifications – not purely on partisanship.

James Henderson’s recent comments and the District 3 candidate forum cemented the reasons why I don’t believe Phil Cox represents our community’s best interests now or in the future. On the very first forum question, Phil made it clear he is a conservative Republican, thereby telling us all that he does not represent the entire community. In addition, there was a tone of arrogance in so many of Phil’s forum answers: making statements like HE created the STEP program and that HE wrote Measure R. He had no problem taking all the credit for accomplishments achieved by the whole (and very diverse) community.

I have supported Amy Shuklian for City Council in the past, and I support her now for Supervisor. I do so because, even when I disagree with her decisions, I know that Amy has listened to my concerns, and that she has considered every point of view fairly. Isn’t that what we all want and expect from our nonpartisan officials?

Phil promised that after his next four-year term (there’s that arrogance again) he and his wife plan to do missionary work. Perhaps it would be best for the future of our community that his last term ends on June 7, 2016.


Maria Gaston

Registered Voter, District 3

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