Reyna's passion: Make Wasco even better
Last updated 7/25/2023 at 3:58pm | View PDF
Councilmember Gilberto Reyna has a long history as a community activist dating even before June 2015, when he was appointed to serve on the City Council and later as mayor pro tem.
In December of 2017, he was selected by the council to hold the position of mayor for 2018, five months in 2021 and a year term in 2022.
He said seeing a need to improve the health and safety of residents motivated him to embark on a career in politics.
"That was my initial motivation to become a public servant, and it is still a driving force in many of the projects I am involved in."
His endeavors have taken on many forms.
"Working with other organizations, we promote healthy eating habits by having monthly free distributions of fruits and vegetables.
"We have also addressed our community's mental health by partnering with the Community Health Initiative of Dignity Health and the St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church to provide free workshops and resources to everyone, especially to family members suffering from these widespread and much-stigmatized illnesses such as anxiety and depression."
Reyna is working on pressing issues important to the city and said public safety is paramount.
"The wave of crime our city is suffering is unprecedented. Having our Wasco Police Department is a major step in addressing much of the lawlessness our community is experiencing. With Chief [Charlie] Fivecoat at the helm, things are moving forward fast."
"As the WPD grows, we will need to build a new police station; to this end, I have advocated closely with Assemblymember Dr. Jasmeet Bains and Senator Melissa Hurtado to secure $5 million in funding for the department."
Pedestrian and alternative transportation safety is also essential to him.
"As a Kern Council of Governments board member, I have been championing more bike lanes funding and robust pedestrian-activated crossing signals. In March, Caltrans awarded Wasco $469,080 to install a HAWK signal on Highway 46 at Poplar Ave and $249,990 to install flashing beacons on Highway 43 at 8th Street."
Reyna said these efforts are a collaborative partnership with the other city council members and staff he works with.
"In most instances, efforts to obtain project funding would not be successful without our professional, dedicated team. They are the ones that do the heavy lifting, and I appreciate them all greatly."
Reyna was instrumental in launching a pay-for -vaccination program.
"Working with our collaborators at Kern Sol and the Kern County Health Department, our health fairs and monthly vaccination clinics have provided the most up-to-date covid-19 and flu vaccines to our residents and the public for about 18 months."
He worked with the council to improve the community's vaccination rate and obtained approval to use ARPA funds for the purchase of gift cards for Wasco residents who get the vaccine at the clinics.
Reyna said providing this incentive has increased the numbers of those vaccinated in Wasco, preventing severe illness or even death.
He sends a special message to the community.
"I am passionate about serving Wasco; feel free to reach out if you need help."