The mission of the Salinas Valley Leadership Group is to identify, recruit and support candidates for non-partisan local office who desire to serve their communities, exhibit qualities of leadership and integrity, and who will support the vital interests of business in the conduct of local government.
Candidate - Gonzales City Council
Business & Community Service Background:
•Wine & Tourism: Destination management, hospitality, special events manager (22 years)
•Small business owner: Wine & Agriculture Industry, Wine Sales Consultant (25 years)
•City of Gonzales Planning Commissioner (3 years)
•Measure K TUT Citizen’s Advisory Board (2 years)
•Music Coordinator & Cathecism Instructor: Soledad Mission
•Vocalist: St. Theodore’s Church
•Board Member Gonzales Little League
•Gonzales High School Volunteer: Student Resume Prep. & Mock Interviews
•CHOICES Program Volunteer Presenter GHS & Fairview Schools (5 years)
•Holiday Lights: Mrs. Clause
"My family and I have lived in Gonzales for over 25-years. I raised my children here and I work here. I love my community and believe that everyone should have the opportunity to serve in local government. I am proud of our town and where we are going. I look forward to continuing the momentum of “The Gonzales Way!” I would be honored if you would consider a vote for me on November 6, 2018."
Incumbent - Gonzales City Council
I was born in Salinas and raised in Gonzales. I attended the local schools and have remained an active resident of our community throughout the years. I want to ensure that Gonzales remains as a positive influence in our county/state. I was appointed to the City Council in January 2009, to fill a vacancy and have been re-elected twice since then. I am the only current Councilmember, aside from the mayor, who is running for re-election this year.
I am dedicated to ensuring that Gonzales maintains its “small town” feel and a place where people want to move to and raise their family. Besides serving on our City Council, I have represented Gonzales as:
Mayor Pro-Tempore since 2014;
Director for Salinas Valley Recycles’ Board since 2011, serving as Vice President from 2012 to 2014, then as President for two years (2014-2016);
Council representative on the City’s Measure K Oversight Committee;
Current community representative on the Hartnell Measure T Oversight Committee
American Legion Auxiliary Unit 81;
Girls Inc. of the Central Coast Board;
GHS Ag Advisory Group;
The Lions Club;
Monterey County Fair Heritage Foundation, serving as President since 2016;
California Rodeo Committee for 30 years;
St. Theodore Church;
Candidate - Gonzales City Council
Candidate - Greenfield City Mayor
I have served on City Council for the past six years and my experience makes me the most qualified candidate. It would be an honor to receive your vote, and a privilege to serve as Mayor.
As Mayor, my goals are to continue to improve public safety and move current economic growth efforts forward. We have exciting opportunities with Yanks Air Museum, Courthouse, The Vines development and South End Annexation project. Revitalizing downtown El Camino Real and attracting recreational opportunities are also crucial.
Future construction must be done responsibly and transparently. I support improvements to infrastructure, a balanced housing market and exploring development of Farmworker housing for our hardworking community. I believe regional retail and restaurants would create job opportunities for eligible high school students and young adults, as they attend colleges or trade schools. We must do better for our residents.
I've lived in Greenfield my whole life, raised my family here and have seen the good, the bad and where we are now. As Mayor, I will work toward uniting our council and community as we move toward to our bright and exciting future! Lets do this together!
Candidate - Greenfield City Council
My name is Jessica Madrid-Bautista, a life-long Greenfield resident and community volunteer. I am married and have two school aged children. My Husband, James, works in the agricultural industry and for 10 years, our family made the winter move to Yuma, Arizona. For six years, I’ve provided quality recreation to South Monterey County as a Zumba instructor and, recently, I began helping at my father’s business that opened its doors to Greenfield in 1986.
In 2008, I was urged to be more community involved and teamed up with other residents. Since then, I’ve participated in political campaigns, co-chaired the Code Enforcement Board, and served on two city employee hiring panels. I also volunteer my time to our local baseball league as a team Mom, board member, and fundraising chair.
I’m hoping to bring a sense of optimism, pride, and civility to our town. Together, we can make Greenfield a city we all love and share. I welcome the opportunity to serve the entire city. I am enthusiastic, dedicated, ethically determined, and never shy away from hard work. I humbly ask for your vote on November 6, 2018. Vote for positive change.
Candidate - Greenfield City Council
My name is Drew Tipton, and I'm running for City Council here in Greenfield. Over the last 8 years, while serving on the Planning Commission and the Fire District Board of Directors, I've worked hard to bring growth and improvements to the community. Rancho San Miguel, Starbucks, the new Mee Memorial Clinic expansion, and the new City of Greenfield Fire Department are all things that I've helped bring in. I'm now running for City Council in order to help that growth continue.
I want to work on Public Safety -- giving our Fire and Police Departments the resources and education that they need to do their jobs more effectively, making this a safer and better place to live. I also want to work on City Services -- we need to make needed improvements and upgrades to our water and sewer systems, and need to develop new and improved city services, such as after-school and recreational programs for our youth. And, most of all, I want to do this all in an transparent fashion -- letting you, the community, see what's happening and how we're improving the city.
Together, we can make all this happen! We can make Greenfield a better, safer place to live. When the time comes on November 6, vote for Something New -- Vote for Drew!
Candidate - Marina City Mayor
It is my goal to be the Mayor of Marina. I am a 30-year retired veteran of the Marina Police Department, attaining the rank of Commander in 2010. My experience has given me ample insight into how, and how not, Good city government, works city government works or should work for its residents. As Commander from 2010 until my retirement in 2018 I was responsible for administrative strategies, staffing, and budgeting. I was also the direct supervisor for the department’s Investigation Bureau, Records Bureau and Property & Evidence Division. I was also the department’s Public Information Officer. I am also a graduate of the FBI LEEDA Command Leadership Institute, Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2015.
In addition to my service to the Marina Public Safety/Police Department, I am a lifetime member and past president of the Monterey County Peace Officers Association and am the current president of the Marina Police Activities League (PAL). I am the law enforcement coordinator for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday home meal delivery, working with Judge Michael Fields (ret.) and the Meals on Wheels of the Monterey Peninsula. I am a mediator for the Restorative Justice Partners Program, mediating resolutions to juvenile criminal matters as an alternative to prosecution within the criminal justice system. introducing misdemeanor juvenile offenders unnecessarily into the criminal justice system. At present, I am also an alternate on the Monterey County Grand Jury.
Incumbent - Salinas City Mayor
After serving his country in the United States Marine Corps, Joe Gunter returned to Salinas and joined the Police Department in 1969. After 32 years as a Police Officer and Detective, he retired in 2002. Over the years he has served his community in many capacities.
Joe has always been involved in community events and served six years as Director of Security for the California International Air Show. He is now the Past President of the Air Show, having served two years as President. He sits on the Board of the Central Coast Federal Credit Union and is the Chairman of the Supervisory Committee, responsible for reviewing and signing off on millions of dollars in loans. He is a Past President of the Women's Crisis Center for Monterey County and has been a volunteer for the California Rodeo and Alisal youth sports for over 30 years. For many years he was a board member of the Bobby Sox as a coach and served as President of the organization.
Joe was elected as Mayor of Salinas in 2012 and is the first Police Officer ever elected to the position of Mayor of Salinas.
Candidate - Salinas City Council, District 3
Steve was elected to the Salinas City Councilmember in 2010 after having served as Chair of the Salinas Planning Commission. His District encompasses South Salinas including Downtown and industrial complexes south of the city.
Steve is an owner of McShane’s Landscape Supply and Converted Organics. He holds a Masters in Agribusiness Administration from Santa Clara University and a B.S. in Soil Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Steve is happily married to his wife Danielle and they have one son, Patrick. When not working he can be found spending time with family, hiking, or gardening.
Candidate - Salinas City Council, District 5
I am the proud mother of two and the grandmother of four beautiful granddaughters. I have been happily married for thirty-three years. We have owned our home for 10 years, but have lived in North Salinas for almost thirty, where I have ran my own business, volunteered and been community involved. My hobbies include painting and spending lots of time with family and friends. We are avid 4x4 enthusiasts but enjoy spending time barbecuing in the backyard as well.
As the Executive Director of the Central Coast Builders Association, I work to improve laws and regulations that are harmful to businesses and the community. Representing both union and merit shops, I work to uphold the principles of ethics and fair industry practices through education and advocacy.
I have experience with budgeting and strategic planning. I am accustomed to collaborating with large groups of people toward a common goal.
My goal for the city is to work on infrastructure improvements such as repaving streets and coming up with parking solutions. I want to infill vacant buildings to increase our tax base so that the city has money for these projects. I want to address our housing issues for all citizens of this city, especially seniors. We need to deal with our shopping cart epidemic and provide more services within our community. District 5 has been overlooked for far too long, let me work to fix that.
I want to fight for our district and make the city a better place to live, work and raise our families.
Incumbent - Monterey County Board of Education Trustee, Area 3
*Appointed in lieu of election
Judy Pennycook was recently reelected to the Monterey County Board of Education, after serving our community for more than three decades: Monterey County Board of Supervisors; North Monterey County Unified School District Board; Restorative Justice formation committee; AYSO Board; Children’s Council; Reading is Fundamental; Rotary; Chamber of Commerce; PTA; Prunedale Grange; and Child Abuse Prevention Council.
Judy graduated from UC Irvine, Magna Cum Laude; from Cal State Northridge with a Preliminary Teaching Credential; UCLA certified her to direct early childhood programs; she also attended Monterey College of Law; and received a Masters in Boardsmanship from the California School Boards Association.
Judy brings proven leadership to the County Board of Education, where she initiated an educational summit providing cutting-edge training for school boards and administrations countywide. She also directed the effort leading to MCOE’s solar project; reducing energy dependence and returning vital dollars to the classroom. Judy is excited about her new term on the County Board, and continuing to help make a difference for our children... our grandchildren... and our future!
Candidate - Monterey County Board of Education Trustee, Area 7
I am a lifelong resident of Salinas and recently retired following a rewarding career in our public school system. I understand the needs of our students, their families, and our community.
I am prepared to serve as a trustee in the Monterey County Office of Education. I understand the role of the county board and its responsibility to all of the county’s districts and colleges. As a trustee, I need to work with the board to hold the County Office accountable to the districts and hold the districts accountable to their students and families.
As an activist in our community, I provide necessary emotional support for homeless as well as meals and necessities. I was recently honored as Humanitarian of the Year by my state organization. It is not the award that mattered, it was the support from others who have rallied to this cause through the publicity. It is heart breaking when the homeless include students from our schools, and occasionally, employees. I have also been active with Griefbusters, Time for Grieving and Healing, AlAnon Counselling, school site councils, and parent teacher organizations.
My top priorities include being responsive to families in need of advocacy and connecting them with appropriate resources, ensuring that districts remain financially solvent, and that students are provided with appropriate classrooms, teachers, curriculum and materials, specialized resources for their various challenging needs.
I will honor this position with integrity, confidentiality, and purposeful focus.
Candidate - Hartnell Community College District, Area 4
*Appointed in lieu of election
Our youth and families deserve to have the best education available here at home.
Hartnell Community College makes this possible.
My name is Irma Lopez and I want to take an active role in making sure Hartnell Community College continues to grow in academic quality and affordability. I have been a Salinas resident for 47 years and graduated from Alisal Union School District schools and Hartnell Community College. I previously worked for the Alisal Union School District as an Outreach Consultant and Family Services Specialist. I have since worked as a Youth Services Coordinator and Supervisor at The First Tee of Monterey County for over 7 years, teaching youth life skills, core values, and healthy habits.
I also serve our community by volunteering with the Steinbeck Museum, the Ernie Camacho Educational Foundation, and Gonzales Youth Guardians. If you elect me I will prioritize parent engagement to ensure our children are prepared for college, workforce development targeting Salinas Valley industries, and work with community partners to help make a college education attainable and accessible to all. Together we can make sure high-quality education stays local. I humbly ask for your vote by mail or on November 6th.
Incumbent - Alisal Union School District Trustee Area 2
First elected to the board in 2013, Maricela Cruz represents Trustee Area 2 of the Alisal Union School District, which encompasses Dr Oscar F. Loya and Monte Bella elementary schools.
Ms. Cruz was born in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico, and was brought to the United States when she was an infant. The family arrived in Salinas in 1985, and Ms. Cruz began attending Frank Paul Elementary. She was among the first students who attended Virginia Rocca Barton Elementary when it opened. She later attended El Sausal and Alisal High schools.
Ms. Cruz joined the labor force right after high school working in electronics. Then she began working for the non-profit sector, where she remained for three years. Later she began working for the Monterey County Office of Education in the alternative education programs, where she has worked for 18 years.
Remembering fondly the times when her parents ran a grocery store in Mexico, Ms. Cruz decided to open a business of her own in Alisal. Nine years ago she launched the Salinas Fútbol Central, which began from home and then moved to a 400 sq.ft store. A year later, she had moved to a 2,000 square feet store, where she remains.
Ms. Cruz ran for office to help the district, and she would like the Alisal Union School District to become a beacon of what is possible.
Jose Antonio Jimenez
Candidate - Alisal Union School District Trustee Area 5
Incumbent - Salinas Union High School District, Area 5
EvaMarie Martinez is a life-long resident of Salinas Valley and Salinas High School graduate. A proud parent with her husband Tony Martinez they have four beautiful children. Mrs. Martinez attended Hartnell College and Salinas Adult School, where she became a licensed nursing assistant working in the health care industry aiding our community seniors since 1994. Currently she is a consultant for Adobe Home Health Inc. Martinez is currently an active member of the Everett Alvarez High School Parent Club. She volunteered to work the first time Non-profit Fireworks booth which helped raise thousands of much needed funds for Alvarez sports. Mrs. Martinez has always possessed a fund raising gift in grant writing which has aided in a number of youth organizations in the community.
Candidate - Salinas Union High School District, Area 7
I am a lifelong resident of Salinas, with deep roots in the public school education system. My grandparents, parents and myself all graduated from Salinas High. For four years I was the Tri-County Area Director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). During this time, I worked closely and directly with student-athletes, coaches and administration to help nurture our local youth. Since leaving that position in 2011, in order to start a family, I have continually looked for ways to serve my community and to help develop local youth. For the last 3 years, I have been coaching both Salinas High Lacrosse and Toro Bulls Football. I currently work for Smith Family Wines.
My top three priorities, if elected, will be to increase educational and athletic success in our schools, manage our funds responsibly protecting the taxpayers of the District, and increasing student safety and school security.
Along with my wife, Ariel, and our three children (Mack, Grant and Eowyn), we live in South Salinas in the Los Olivos / Riker neighborhood.
Candidate - Salinas Elementary School District Trustee Area 3
Students first, politics second
- Stronger support for science, math & technology
- Careful spending
- Teacher retention & improved facilities
Who is Rick Giffin?
- Longtime resident of the North Salinas
- (40) Years experience in the insurance business
- Elder, Northminster Presbyterian Church
- Active in community non-profits
Candidate - Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare District, Zone 1
Ricky Cabrera has been president of Cabrera Contracting Inc. since 1988.
He is President of the Mexican Heritage Expo and Past President and Charter Member of the Salinas Alisal Rotary Club. He serves as a member of the National Steinbeck Center Board of Trustees, Salinas Valley Leadership Group Board of Trustees, Rancho Cielo Board of Trustees and the San Benito County Farm Bureau. Ricky is a volunteer for the California Rodeo Salinas and Monterey County Reads and coaches Tennis at Palma Junior High School.
He is a member of the Knights of Columbus. He also serves on the Budget Advisory Committee of the Alisal Union School District and the Salinas Planning and Research Corporation (SPARC), a non-profit organization that functions as a part of the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce. Most recently, he was appointed by the Governor to the 7th District Agricultural Association, Monterey County Fair Board
Alfred Diaz Infante
Incumbent - Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare District, Zone 3
Alfred Diaz-Infante was born and raised in Salinas and is the President/CEO of Community Housing Improvement Systems and Planning Association, Inc (CHISPA). He is a former president of the Hartnell College Foundation, has served the Community Foundation for Monterey County and other non-profit groups. Diaz-Infante holds an MBA with an emphasis in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics from the University of California Berkeley and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from California State University Sacramento.
Candidate - Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare District, Zone 4
Rich has been living in the Salinas area for more than 10 years, working for Dole Fresh Vegetables in a financial leadership role. He graduated from Creighton University with an RSBA in Accounting and has worked in Senior Financial Management in the food industry for more than 30 years. Having roots in a small agricultural community in southwestern Iowa, he understands the need for access to quality healthcare services and joined the Foundation board in 2012. He is currently on the Finance and Investment committees, and previously served as Treasurer, where his financial expertise helped strengthen the Foundation and enabled it to better support the health system in its mission to provide the highest quality care. He married his high school sweetheart, has two children and two grandchildren, and lives in Corral de Tierra, where he has served as both a Board Member and President of the Meadows Home Owner Association.
Candidate - Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare District, Zone 5
Occupation: Retired Obstetrician-Gynecologist
MD, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
BA, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN
Residency, Ob-Gyn, Naval Hospital, San Diego
Captain, Retired, US Naval Reserves
Past Chief of Staff, Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital
Past President, Board of Governors, SVMH Foundation
Candidate - Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, Division 1
We need a long-term, sustainable water supply. To achieve this, we must put public service before politics. Water is a basic necessity, not a political football.
Our water supply future is at a crossroad. How we move forward will forever impact our community. The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District is facing big issues that will require tough decisions.
I am a longtime businessman and resident of Seaside who has followed, been involved with and understand what it takes to achieve a sustainable water supply.
The District is now looking at recycled/groundwater replenishment, desalination and Aquifer Storage and Recovery as components of water supply projects.
I will address each decision with a fresh perspective, an open mind, and no preconceived agenda. I will listen to the community and ensure that your voices are heard.
Incumbent - Monterey Peninsula Water Management District, Division 2
Andrew “Andy” Clarke is a fifth generation Californian with a special appreciation for our State’s history and natural resources. He grew up in Southern California and spent many summers at his grandparents’ cattle ranch in Northern California swimming, fishing, hiking and enjoying the lakes and rivers that make our State a special place.
After high school, he attended Ventura College where he earned an Associate of Arts degree and then transferred to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in AgBusiness.
After graduating from Cal Poly, he moved to Monterey County where he began a career in finance. In 2005, he began his employment as the Assistant Controller with Alisal Water Corporation, where he is currently employed.
He has lived in Del Rey Oaks for the past 13 years with his wife, Robin, their two children. He was an appointed member of the Del Rey Oaks Planning Commission from January 2005 through August 2011. He has served on numerous nonprofit Boards holding various leadership positions. Some of those organizations include: Salinas Jaycees, Del Rey Oaks Citizens’ Action Group, Cal Poly Alumni Association Monterey Bay Area Chapter, Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Monterey County Fair Heritage Foundation, Scottish Society of the Monterey Peninsula, among others.
In his spare time Andy enjoys working in his garden, hiking, reading, making jam, traveling and spending time with his family.
Incumbent - Monterey County Sheriff-Coroner
Sheriff Steve Bernal has been a peace officer since 1999. He was elected to the office of Sheriff in November of 2014. Before being elected as the 31st Sheriff of Monterey County, Sheriff Bernal was assigned as a patrol deputy at the South County Station. He also served at the Coastal Station and Central patrol station. Sheriff Bernal started his career as a Custody Deputy at the jail where his duties also included bailiff duties and transportation deputy.
Sheriff Bernal grew up in an agricultural oriented family in South County. He takes great pride in his community oriented style of policing in the area he grew up in and cares so much about. He instills this same philosophy today and encourages all employees at the sheriff’s office to be involved in the community.
In 2007 Sheriff Bernal was awarded the distinct honor of Deputy of the year. This award was reflective of his dedication to working hard to provide the best service to victims and citizens of Monterey County. In his first year as Sheriff he received a Resolution from Senator Anthony Cannella and Assemblyman Mark Stone for providing the highest level of service and protection to the citizens of Monterey County.
Sheriff Bernal is honored to serve as your 31st Sheriff and looks forward to making the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office a law enforcement agency we can all be proud of.
Sheriff Bernal earned his private pilot’s license at age 20 and commercial rotorcraft license at age 21. He has logged over 3000 hours in airplanes and helicopters. He is married to his wife Leslie and they have 3 children, Jennifer, Jace and Jordan.
Incumbent - Monterey County Supervisor, District 2
John Phillips is a long time resident of Monterey County, having served as Deputy District Attorney, Assistant District Attorney, Superior Court Judge, Founder and President of Rancho Cielo Youth Campus, and most recently, was elected as Monterey County Supervisor in District 2 in 2014.
Currently, John serves as the Vice-Chair of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. He also serves as Chair of the Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC), Chair of the Capital Improvement Committee, and Chair of the Economic Opportunity Committee. Additionally, he serves on the Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA), Mental Health Commission, Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District, Monterey One Water and the Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority. Through all of these positions, he has gained valuable experience that has allowed him to work on the important issues impacting not just District 2, but the entire County of Monterey.
John has served as President of the Board of Rancho Cielo, on the Board of the Community Foundation for Monterey County, the Board of Directors of the Gateway Center, as a member of the Mayor of Salinas Violence Prevention Task Force and the Community Alliance for Safety and Peace (CASP). He has been honored with the Salinas Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year award, the Jefferson Award, Community Commitment to Peace Award from Partners for Peace, the Monterey County Bar Association Gibson Award, the Humanitarian Award from the American Culinary Federation and the Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship Award.
Candidate - Monterey County Supervisor, District 3
It is with great enthusiasm that I announce my candidacy for Monterey County’s Third Supervisorial District. As Supervisor I can serve my community and help to further the quality of life and economic prosperity for the residents of the Salinas Valley. I am humbled by the encouragement shown by our community leaders from agriculture, local government, and community organizations in offering their support and endorsement.
The priority of County Government needs to be the promotion, growth, and sustainability of local businesses, and the security, safety and wellbeing of every one of our neighbors as well as the best customer service possible by the county and its agencies to the communities we serve.
Over the next few months I hope you will come to learn a good deal about me through this site. As the opportunities come up to discuss the issues with you out in the community, I will continue to update this section of the site. I have some ideas that I want to share with you during the campaign, and I hope you will take the time to share yours with me so we can work together to move the Third District forward.