Latest in a series profiling the candidates for Shafter City Council prior to the Nov. 8 election. Stories on the other candidates can be seen on TheShafterPress.com.
Gustavo Olvera has been serving Shafter for over 12 years, which he feels will help him in his effort to win a seat on the City Council.
Olvera has lived in the city with his wife for over 15 years, raising their three children here. He has a master's degree in business administration and is a licensed Realtor and private investigator.
Olvera was a Shafter police officer for 12 years, retiring as a sergeant in 2018.
"I have continued to serve the community as a City of Shafter planning commissioner, board member of the Shafter Lions Club Foundation, and a member of the Sequoia Elementary School Site Council," he said in a recent interview.
Olvera is currently employed by a local nonprofit, Farmworkers Institute of Education & Leadership Development, as the director of EPIC Workforce Development. "Our core purpose is to empower the underserved to be self-sufficient. We provide educational programs to young adults (18-26) so they can earn their high school diploma while receiving paid work experience in environmental conservation work," Olvera said.
He said that through the nonprofit, he is also working on a water project that will bring sustainable water to distressed communities in the San Joaquin Valley.
Olvera said that he would be effective as a council member because of his experience in law enforcement and his ability to work with the community and understand how to encourage growth.
"As a council member, I will focus on the socio-economic factors that impact our community the most. I spent 21 years working in law enforcement. I worked in communities throughout Kern County that helped me understand the socio-economic factors, such as income, education, employment, public safety, housing and social support, and the impact to communities, specifically our community of Shafter."
Olvera said that he would seek an innovative approach to bring new business to the city that will provide employment opportunities with sustainable wages for families.
He stated that he would work together with the school districts to offer every opportunity and resource available to our students to ensure their success. "I will ensure that our government employees, including public works, police officers, dispatchers and city administration employees have the leadership and resources in place that promote growth and professional development for the sake of our community's continued growth," the candidate said.