Tulare CA—July 31, 2020—The President and Vice-President of the Tulare Local Healthcare District, Kevin Northcraft (District 4) and Mike Jamaica, (District 2) respectively, have jointly announced they will be seeking reelection in the November 3, 2020 general election.
Both were elected by over 60% of the vote in a controversial election in 2016. Supported by Citizens for Hospital Accountability, they were joined by Senovia Gutierrez (District 3) in July 2017 as part of a recall campaign against Dr. Pernod Kumar. Shortly thereafter, Board members Xavier Avila (District 5) and Stephen Harrell (District 1) were appointed.
The Citizens group and new board members opposed the contract given by the prior board to HCCA, a newly formed corporation that was paid approximately $8 million per year to operate the hospital. HCCA quit paying bills and staff in 2017 and closed the hospital in October 2017.
The new board then sought bankruptcy protection, searched for a new provider, and selected Adventist Health in 2018. The hospital reopened in October 2018, over twenty lawsuits were settled, and the board came out of bankruptcy in 2019. Since then, the district’s bonds and a loan from the City of Tulare have been refinanced at a savings to taxpayers of over $50 million.
Challenges for the next board include developing a plan for financing and finishing the Tower, assuring the Evolutions gym is self-sustaining, and monitoring Adventist Health’s array of expanding services.
Northcraft has thirty-two years’ experience in city management including budgeting, contracts, and public construction. Jamaica is a lifelong resident of Tulare, a graduate of Tulare Union High School and a veteran of the United State Army. He is known for bringing a community based common sense approach to the board.