Serving the community since 1922

THE RACE FOR SUPERVISOR: Veronica Vasquez

Candidate wants to take a hands-on approach

Third in a series profiling candidates for 4th District county supervisor, representing the Shafter and Wasco areas. Other stories can be found at TheShafterPress.com or WascoTrib.com.

Veronica Vasquez has a bachelor's in human development from Cal State East Bay, with a minor in political science and women's studies and a master's in social work with an emphasis on mental health. She has interned with Sen. Barbara Boxer in San Francisco with a role to help veterans and mental health constituents get mental health services. She also interned in Washington, D.C., with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, which allowed her to work with Congress members and senators.

During graduate school, Vasquez lobbied with the National Association of Social Workers in Sacramento and served for two terms as Service Employee International Union president. Since 2007, she has worked as a Kern County Child Protective Services social worker.

She also serves as councilwoman for the City of Delano. "My first two years, I was mayor pro tem. This experience has given me insight regarding budgets and providing necessary services to the community."

If elected, she will most look forward to working for the community differently. "I would be able to focus as an elected official full time and meet the community's needs utilizing the county staff."

She said she was the most qualified candidate. "I have a very different perspective because I work in the community. I drive the county roads. I still do one-on-one engagement with the community. I work firsthand with first responders, and with my experience as a social worker, elected official and a union leader, I am well-rounded."

She plans to focus on recruitment/retention of county employees, homelessness and housing as her priorities if elected.

She said of the leadership qualities she believes are essential for the role and that she embodies, "Being someone of the community. I live a humble lifestyle like most people in District Four, and I can listen to, engage with, understand and let people know they are being heard and that they matter."

For promoting economic growth, she is part of California Jobs First. "It's a committee to bring good paying jobs to Kern County. I got voted into the North Kern section."

To work with law enforcement and community organizations to address concerns related to public safety, she said, "By being involved with committees related to this. Delano has a crime prevention committee, and I'm a co-chair of that. I plan on becoming involved in others."

She plans to support education and improve social services for county residents. "By paying employees fairly so that they want to stay in their positions. If need be, lobby in Sacrament for additional resources. Because there are federal and state monies that are meant for social service programs, and I would like to see more social service programs visible in rural areas."

To plan to approach budgetary decisions to ensure fiscal responsibility, she added. "I've been doing that already. I was on the last Kern County bargaining team, and we looked at the budget to negotiate with the County Chief Negotiator to discuss how we could distribute funds to meet the community's needs. This was also during the pandemic, and one of the things we did was speak to elected officials in Sacramento about why the American Rescue Plan funds were essential and why it needed to pass, and it did. That helped meet the county's financial needs during the pandemic.

She said her long-term vision is "to see more Latinas in positions like Board of Supervisors, city council, city manager or CEO and to take more of a hands-on approach to being involved in the community, and that starts with someone like me being in the position and letting them know it is possible that it can happen. We deserve a seat at the table."

 

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