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By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

New mayor looks to bright future, keeping city strong

 

December 27, 2018 | View PDF

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

Mayor Alvarado is interviewed by KGET's Tom Wallace.

At their recent meeting, the City Council selected Gilbert Alvarado as the new mayor of Shafter. Alvarado has been on the council for a decade, and this is his first appointment to the city's top position.

"I am honored and humbled by this opportunity, and I will work to represent and serve the City of Shafter to the best of my ability," said Alvarado. He said he plans to keep the city strong financially, as it has been in recent years, and to address issues that have been a concern for the community.

"A survey was done about a month ago, and the citizens had an opportunity to voice concerns and give their opinions on what could be improved in the City of Shafter. We are looking forward to having an opportunity to make changes that will impact the quality of life in the city." Alvarado said that the economy, more activities available for youth and job opportunities for local citizens are all focuses moving forward. "With companies like Walmart coming into the community, and their need for applicants who are experienced in STEM-related skills, we need opportunities for our residents to learn and gain that valuable experience."

Alvarado also believes there are opportunities to improve the resources for our youth when it comes to sports activities. "We have only one basketball court in Shafter right now, which is not acceptable for a city of our size. And there is also a need for a skate park that can give our kids somewhere safe to go and skate. Our parks are being improved on, which is great, but we need to go further and give more resources in town to stay active."

Alvarado's career in public service began over 10 years ago when he and his family moved to Shafter from Ventura County. With the rising cost of living in that area, and the family looking for an opportunity to improve their lives, the decision was made to move to Shafter, where his wife, Martha, grew up. Gilbert, Martha and their three girls, Alexis, Jessica and Hannah, moved to Shafter in 1994.

After they settled in, Alvarado decided to get involved in different activities in town as a way to get to know people. His daughters got involved in the Recreation and Parks District, participating in different sports throughout the season. Gilbert was a volunteer coach, and then eventually became an umpire in the league. When his children started school, he became involved in the PTA and Site Council. He saw things that he thought could be improved on in the community and the schools and decided that the only way to help create change was to get involved. Alvarado ran for a seat on the Richland School Board, but did not get elected that first time.

Jamie Stewart | the Shafter Press

Gilbert Alvarado says is honored to serve as the next mayor of Shafter.

In 2008, he was approached about running for the City Council. Alvarado ran and won the most votes of the six candidates in the election. Serving the past four years as mayor pro-tem, Alvarado said that he is ready for the challenge and is excited about this opportunity. "I have served on the council the past ten years and have never been mayor. It seems that this time has been a training period for me, and now it is time for action." Shafter is now more than 80 percent Hispanic in population, and Alvarado said that he is proud to be the second Hispanic mayor in Shafter history; the first being Fran Florez.

"Being a Latino mayor, I am proud to be a role model for the youth, being an example of what you can do with a dream. It goes to show that if you have a dream and work hard towards that goal, it can be achieved."

 

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