Tulare residents, family, and friends gathered around Assembly District 26 candidate Jose Sigala at the Roox Agency for an election watch party and to give their support. Sigala is currently a Tulare City Council member. A band played on stage, people drank and ate food, while Sigala remained glued to his laptop refreshing the election results.
Sigala ultimately lost the election to incumbent Assembly Member Devon Mathis by over 10,000 votes despite huge support from labor organizations and blue collar workers such as farm workers, carpenters, electricians, and painters. Sigala said he was very appreciative of all the support he got for his campaign and respects the will of the voters.
Sigala emphasized how proud he is to be a part of Tulare and live among such hardworking “salt of the earth” people.
During his watch party Sigala expressed how he was not discouraged and that he was looking forward to continuing his service to the community as a city council member and anticipates other local leadership positions just around the corner.
“Our first meeting in December we get to select someone to be the mayor and so I’m hoping that I am in consideration of becoming the first Latino mayor of Tulare.”
Sigala led the effort to remove the former mayor Carlton Jones who he considered to be a bully, disrespectful, and a divisive figure. His goal is to bring people together by respecting everyone’s views.
Tulare City Council District 4
Dennis Mederos had a lively gathering of friends and Tulare residents, many of whom sat at tables eating and chatting as Mederos calmly walked among his supporters.
Mederos remained optimistic as the first results rolled in, but kept a humble and realistic demeanor until the final result. In the end, Mederos won the race against challenger Chris Harrell by 12.68%.
When asked what his biggest priority would be, he said number one would be resolving the city manager position, number two was finding a new police chief, and the third was to find a new permanent city attorney.
Tulare City Council District 2
Candidate for District 2 Terry Sayre decided to have a more intimate watch party and hold it at her own house. Family and friends gathered in the living room as one of her granddaughters refreshed the election results on her laptop. Others hovered around the kitchen filling their plates and bellies with delicious home cooked dishes. Some took to the family piano and played a few songs.
Even District 4 candidate Chris Harrell swung by after his watch party.
An unorthodox watch party was fitting for an unorthodox candidate. Former teacher Sayre decided to write a passionate letter to her future constituents instead of a flyer at the beginning of her campaign. Her personal approach must have appealed to voters because supporters began to call in and she ultimately won the seat, defeating Alex Gutierrez by 16%.
Although Sayre was in a race for the council seat, she never forgot what mattered most to her– unity. She stayed true to her belief by always working together with local leaders and community members. District 2 candidate Alex Gutierrez and Sayre worked side by side at the Tulare Chamber of Commerce and she had the opportunity to teach Harrell when she was a teacher.
Sayre shared similarities with District 4 winner Mederos in that they both put finding a new city manager and police chief as a priority. She says they have known each other a long time and respect each other. And just how Sigala believes in bringing people together, Sayre has faith that the east and west sides of Tulare can create unity.
“Look at the diverse group of people that came here tonight–other candidates!” Sayre said as she spoke of her supporters and how they are proof people can come together despite their skin color or what side of town they live on. “These are like-minded people who see humanity. They don’t see white, black, brown, Spanish. They don’t see that. They see humanity.”
Sayre says she feels blessed and doesn’t have words to express how grateful she is for the support she has received from her community. “It increases my belief that we can be united. We can change the climate of Tulare because Tulare has gone through a lot and there is still residual discontent and contention. It’s still here.”