Former Exeter Mayor Robyn Stearns announced her candidacy for Tulare County Board of Supervisors District 1 at a campaign launch party Friday evening. Stearns will face challenger Larry Micari and incumbent Tulare County Supervisor Kuyler Crocker.
Approximately 50 of Stearns close family, friends and co-workers gathered to launch her campaign. Ted Macauley, also a former Exeter Mayor, introduced Stearns, expressing his support for her campaign and how much he enjoyed working with her on the city council.
Macauley is also supporting Micari for supervisor and plans to donate to both campaigns. Several attendees at the event expressed their belief that Micari and Stearns will be the top two vote getters in the March primary, leaving current District 1 Supervisor Crocker behind. Crocker has held the District 1 supervisor seat since his narrow victory against Dennis Smith in 2016.
Stearns kept her comments short as all in attendance knew her well.
“I will do a great job as supervisor, of that I am sure,” she said.
That sentiment was echoed by co-worker Linda James. “Robyn gets more done than anyone I have seen in my life. She keeps her garden, takes care of her grandkids, runs a business, and works as a realtor for Avedian Properties, on top of other volunteer work, while I am still scratching my head.”
Her sons-in law also agreed Stearns will do a great job. “She is a community worker and a good people person. She is a total optimist and has taught me to be more optimistic.”
Stearns has lived in Exeter since a toddler attending its school system kindergarten through high school. She opened the Wild Flower Café in 1991 and then got her real estate license in 2002, working for Heaton Properties. In 2008 she won a seat on the Exeter City Council and served for eight years, four of those being mayor.
“I feel that I have been walking the walk while on the city council and gained a good outlook on what would be necessary for the board of supervisors job.”
She said that a person becomes a true problem solver “really fast” when you have your own business. “I already see ways to save the county money.”
In co-opting President Trump’s MAGA slogan she said, “let’s make it MTCGA, or Make Tulare County Great Again.”
Visalia City Council Member Brian Poochigian was at the launch party and has officially endorsed Stearns.
“She will be a breath of fresh air for the county,” he said, ”and she has the experience.”
Stearns has in fact met with all of the Visalia City Council members in preparation of her run. “Every area has its own issues and I have been meeting with decision makers to prepare for my run.” There is much camaraderie between the two city councils, she said, and each Visalia city council member was very supportive of her campaign.
In her initial meeting with her campaign team they discussed walking the areas of district 1 where she isn’t as well known. East Visalia has approximately 15,000 voters and she intends on pounding the pavement in that area to get to know the residents and their issues.
She said the community of Exeter already knows her but the town is just a small part of the district. Also, with her family being involved in citrus farming since 1961, she has name recognition among the east side farmers that stretches from Exeter to Strathmore.
While on the Exeter City Council what she enjoyed the most was the opportunity to be helpful. “In this new position, that’s what I am really excited about, in being helpful on a wider scale.”
“Life skills are huge. Because of what I have done in life as a mom, grandmother, and business owner prepares me for the job as supervisor,” she said.
Stearns is not exactly excited about the campaigning side of reaching her goal to be District 1 supervisor, but sees it as a necessary evil.
“I am running because there is a lot of room for improvement in this supervisor’s district.”