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 - Salinas City Mayor
Former Salinas City Councilwoman Kimbley Craig, is President & CEO of Monterey County Business Council. She leads the organization and specializes in forging cross-sector partnerships between private, public, and nonprofit agencies. She is also the current Executive Director for Leadership Monterey County.
Kimbley has balanced her progressive career with an unwavering commitment to Salinas. She is a Past President of the Salinas Jaycees. She later served two terms as Vice President of the California Jaycees. Kimbley is on the Salinas Rodeo Committee, and has held positions on the Board of Directors for the Junior League of Monterey County, Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monterey County, and SVMHS Heart & Sole 10K Race. She is a Hall of Fame Award recipient for Leadership Salinas Valley. Currently, she is a volunteer driver for ITN Monterey County, a driving service for seniors and low-vision residents. She is a founder of Monterey Bay Derby Dames, a local non-profit organizational women’s roller derby team for the Monterey Peninsula. Recently, she joined the Board of Directors for Hospice Giving Foundation, which promotes preparedness and dignified end of life care for individuals and their loved ones. She is a leadership trainer to local boards of directors on fiscal management, community outreach, and proper meeting procedures. She is widely recognized by her organizations for her ability to mobilize resources and volunteers.
Kimbley ran for office and was elected to Salinas City Council in 2010. She was reelected again in 2014, and served a successful second term until December 2018. She actively represented North Salinas in District #5, which encompasses nearly half (approximately $33 million dollars) of the city’s retail sales tax base. Kimbley maintained a balanced and responsible pro-business stance on City Council. She was the youngest woman ever elected to office in Salinas.
Kimbley and her partner Bobby live in Salinas with their Corgi, Lucy.
Incumbent - Soledad City Mayor
Fred Ledesma, a life-long resident of Soledad was elected Mayor of Soledad in November of 2010. He previously served eleven years on the City Council as a Councilmember and Mayor. He currently serves on the Monterey County Association of Mayors and on the Association of California Cities Allied with Prisons. Mayor Ledesma currently sits on the City’s Parks and Recreation Committee. Mayor Ledesma is also the City’s alternate representative on the Transportation Agency of Monterey County Board of Directors. Mayor Ledesma serves as the City’s liaison representative to the Oldtown Soledad Beautification Association (OSBA) and to the Soledad Fiesta Days organization. Mayor Ledesma and his wife Gloria are proud to call Soledad their home.
Incumbent - Salinas City Council, District 1
Scott was born and raised in Salinas. He is first generation to a mother who emigrated from Japan. His father’s side of the family moved to Salinas in the 1940’s, settled in the Alisal and lived on Fairview Avenue. Living in poverty and through the Great Depression, they worked tirelessly and eventually purchased a small farm where they grew strawberries.
At the age of 15, Scott worked in the fields at his family’s farm, where he was the sole employee. He was responsible for irrigating, weeding, and fertilizing 14 acres of organic farmland. This impressed upon him the difficulty working as a farm laborer and taught him to respect those who did. Scott attended Salinas schools, and Hartnell College where he graduated with an AA degree. He currently possesses a BS in Business Administration and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from California Coast University. At the age of 19, while attending Hartnell College, Scott began working at Monterey County Juvenile Hall. While working at Juvenile Hall, Scott continued his education at Chico State and then Fresno State before being hired at the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, as a Deputy Sheriff.
Scott’s has worked nearly 17 years at the Sheriff’s Office, was a Field Training Officer and Crime Scene Investigator. He has worked every station in Monterey County as well as the Resident Deputy in Big Sur and Court Security at the Monterey County Superior Court House. In 2009, Scott ran unopposed for a seat on the Deputy Sheriff’s Association Union Board. He spent 6 years on the Union Board serving the last 2 years as their President.
Candidate - Salinas City Council, District 6
As a lifelong Salinas resident, a Planning Commission Member, former Master Technician, Shop Foreman and Shop Steward at Sam Linder Cadillac/Honda for over 23 years and now a Farmers’ Insurance Agent for 11 years, Mars decided to run for Salinas City Council.
He has been volunteering as the Assistant Boys Varsity Basketball Coach at Alvarez High for 18 years, and is a proud graduate of North Salinas High School. In addition, Mars is engaged with the community as the President of the Filipino Community of Salinas Valley, Board member of the Asian Cultural Experience of Salinas, Member of the Salinas Downtown Community Board, and the Chinatown Revitalization Plan, thus providing me valuable insight and experience working with City Government and the diverse communities of Salinas. He is also a proud member of the Rotary Club of Salinas Valley and Parishioner of Madonna Del Sasso Church.
Mars is keenly aware of the challenges that affect your daily lives such as equal justice, education, and public safety, and with your help shall tirelessly work for your interests. As an experienced business owner, business property owner, and homeowner he knows the angst and stress all of us are facing.
Standing with him is his wife of 33 years - Jocelyn Viray Rocamora. They have three children, Jenalee and her husband Joe Jemera, Raymond and Kainoa and two grandchildren - Ailyn and Isaiah Jemera. In these challenging times we are facing, we need experienced, reasoned leadership. Mars is not afraid to speak his mind or ask tough questions that will need to be asked in Council chambers, because he wants to be the voice of the Community – your voice.
Incumbent - Hartnell College Board of Trustees, Area 1
In addition to currently serving as Hartnell College Board Trustee for Area 1, Manuel Osorio is a proud graduate of the community college system. Manuel spent the greater part of his career working in a local community college. In his 34 years at Cabrillo College, he served as the Financial Aid Director and Counselor, Assistant Dean of Student Services and finally, Vice President/Assistant Superintendent of Student Services. In 2010 Bakersfield College recruited him to serve as Interim Vice President of the college while they were conducting their search for a permanent Vice President. He also served as President of the California Community Colleges Student Services Association where he participated on the Chancellor's Office Consultation Board and was a member of several accreditation teams for the California Community Colleges. His extensive experience in the community college system has given Manuel a deep understanding of the needs of the students, the employees and the community.
Public service has always been one of Manuel's core philosophies. He has served on numerous boards including; United Way, Cultural Council, La Coalicion, YMCA, Rotary Club and LULAC. Manuel was a Trustee for the Pajaro Valley Unified School District for 11 years and a Trustee of the North Monterey County Unified School District Board for 4 years.
Manuel has received numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including the Cabrillo Faculty Senate Award, the Outstanding Young Men of America Award, the Women's Crisis Support - Defensa de Mujeres and the Santa Cruz NAACP Humanitarian Award. Upon retirement, he received proclamations and resolutions from the California State Senate and Assembly, the County and City of Santa Cruz, and the City of Watsonville for his exemplary record of accomplishments in the field of education. Most recently he received the State of California Senate Certificate of Recognition for his status as a Vietnam War Veteran, and volunteer for the Memorial Day Avenue of Flags Ceremony. He lives in Prunedale with his wife Susan, is the proud father of 3 children and has 8 beautiful grandchildren.
Aurelio Salazar, Jr.
Incumbent - Hartnell College Board of Trustees, Area 2
Aurelio Salazar, Jr. was born in Ontario, Oregon to Aurelio P. Salazar of Weslaco, Texas and Raquel Sanchez Salazar of La Ciudad Acuna, Coahuila, Mexico. His parents were farm workers working in the fields of Arizona, California, and Oregon. He has two older sisters Rita Maria Sotelo and Maria Raquel Sanchez Salazar, Esq. who were born in Oregon and Idaho and now reside in San Antonio, Texas. Aurelio and his wife have over 20 years of public service and volunteering in the community. They have a four-year-old son Joaquin Aurelio Salazar and two year old daughter Sofia Raquel Salazar.
Aurelio attended Hartnell Community College where he served as Student Body President and Student Trustee and received his Associate of Arts Degree in Transfer Studies. He attended and graduated from San Diego State University (SDSU) with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies from the Mexican American Studies Department. While at SDSU he was active in student government and numerous student organizations. In 2019, Aurelio graduated from San José State University with a Masters Degree in Mexican American Studies with an emphasis in Ethnic Studies. Aurelio eventually plans on teaching in the California Community College system.
Since 2015, Aurelio has served on the Hartnell Community College Board of Trustees, Area 2. In 2017, he was selected as Vice President and since December 2018 he has served as Board President. Over the last five years he has served on the Audit Committee and has worked with the college administration in making sure that Hartnell operates within a balanced budget.
As a former student, his educational career, professional development and leadership training makes Aurelio is the most qualified candidate to lead Hartnell in providing the best education experience for all of its students.
Candidate - Hartnell College Board of Trustees, Area 3
Kari served as Hartnell trustee for three years, and was elected board president by her peer board members. She is experienced in what Hartnell needs today: selecting a permanent President/Superintendent, overseeing fiscal management and contract negotiations, and supporting the growth and expansion of programs and centers.
Kari has a long history of active involvement in the partnership between Hartnell and the agriculture industry that enriches students' experiences and their academic and career prospects. She knows how vital it is to connect and support local students with careers, boosting the local economy, increasing opportunities for job advancement and raising the standard of living in our community.
Kari is a strong proponent of increased access to education, and has a laser focus on student success through engagement and support. Now more than ever these depend on making sure Hartnell employees have the training and resources they need to help students feel adequately supported to navigate these uncertain times. Flexibility and agility are key.
Incumbent - Hartnell College Board of Trustees, Area 4
Irma Lopez immigrated to Salinas, California when she was six years old from San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico where she was born. Her father was a field worker, and came to the United States seeking the American Dream.
Irma is one of seven children, all of whom grew up in East Salinas – attending Salinas schools throughout her childhood and adolescence. After graduating from Alisal High, Irma had the opportunity to demonstrate the strong work ethic she learned from her father and mother and she took a job as a switchboard operator at Alisal High School, and at a law office after school. Following her time at Alisal High School, she returned to Hartnell College to earn an associate’s degree on Behavioral Science and applied for a job as an outreach consultant for César E. Chávez Elementary.
Currently she works as a Program Development & Retention Specialist for the Monterey County Office of Education’s Educational Service Department - AmeriCorps Program. She is responsible for hiring approximately 40 service members, and includes supervising and mentoring them while serving in the program. Irma previously worked at The First Tee of Monterey County (TFTMC), where she was the Members Services Coordinator. She has experience working with Monterey County school districts through partnerships with The First Tee, and supervised a staff team of 15-25. Through this she worked with children and youth to grow their life and core skills, and developed deep connections with community members.
Additionally, Irma is currently the Hartnell College Board District 4 Trustee, and a Board Member for the Ernie Camacho Educational Foundation. She is also a volunteer of TFTMC, Gonzalez Youth Guardians and the National Steinbeck Center. Irma has done so much within the community, that she was a recipient of Salinas’ “City of Champions” commendation award.
Guadalupe Ruiz Gilpas
Incumbent - Alisal Union School District Board of Trustees, Area 4
Mrs. Guadalupe Ruiz-Gilpas was first appointed to serve as trustee of the Alisal Union School District in 2005, a post that she held until 2011. She was elected again in 2015 to represent Trustee Area 4.
The child of a teacher and a migrant farmworker, Mrs. Ruiz-Gilpas was born and raised in Salinas and attended Sherwood School, Fremont Elementary, El Sausal Middle School, Alisal High, and Hartnell College.
Mrs. Ruiz-Gilpas has worked in education all of her life, first as an instructional assistant at Frank Paul Elementary and later as a community liaison for Harden Middle School at the Salinas Union High School District, where she's worked for 25 years. She volunteers her time to a variety of efforts, and in the past she has served on the boards of Second Chance Youth Program and Meals on Wheels.
Mrs. Ruiz-Gilpas believes having the right people in leadership positions is crucial to the academic development of students; for that reason it's important to have top administrators who are invested in the district and in the success of its students.
Incumbent - Soledad Unified School District Board of Trustees
Javier Galvan was proudly raised in Soledad and attended local schools. He is now raising his own children in Soledad and wishes to work with the community, fellow parents, teachers, and administrators to support student learning and provide opportunities for youth and children to be prepared for college and a career.
Javier graduated from Hartnell College with a degree in Criminal Justice and worked for Soledad Police Department as a police officer and school resource officer from 1990 to 1996. After that, he worked for the Monterey County Sheriff's Department from 1996 to 2000 as a deputy, field-training officer, school resource officer, and recently retired as a detective. Javier has volunteered as a coach for Soledad Little League, South County YMCA, and high school sporter. He also serves on the Soledad Cemetary Board.
If re-elected, Javier will continue to be someone who listens and understands the needs of his community by learning about and responding to all perspectives. During his last five years as a Board Trustee, and more recently the Board President, he has assisted in leading and approving a balanced budget, collaborative leadership, family and community engagement, curriculum and instruction programs, social-emotional counseling and supports, and thoughtful decisions because we are stronger together as a community.
Ivan Ibarra Mora
Candidate - Soledad Unified School District Board of Trustees
As an immigrant and son of farmworkers, Ivan was raised in Soledad and embodies the persistence and resilience that is ingrained in the diverse community. During these challenging times, he appreciates having grown up in Soledad, which instilled a deep commitment to service and community – a commitment he hopes to fulfill by being elected to the SUHSD Governing Board.
Since graduating from Soledad High School, Javier is the first in his family to graduate from college and earn a Master’s of Education from the University of Notre dame. Upon finishing, he returned home to teach at the same school he attended as a young child, Gabilan Elementary. As a Director of Student Services for a Graduate School of Education that prepares teachers all of over California, Ivan worked toward greater education equality and access for all students. He has been committed to the community by amplifying the voices of our youth, supporting parents with greater participation in the education process, and serving as an advisor to student groups throughout the Salinas Valley. Because he has been a student, teacher, and community advocate, Javier is invested in making things better for our students and families.
Candidate - Soledad Unified School District Board of Trustees
Roberto has lived in Salinas for 38 years. He has been a resident of Soledad for two years. Roberto is married. Roberto has three daughters. Yaretzi is one year old. Jizelle attends Frank Ledesma Elementary. Nayeli is 20 years old. During the last semester, at Hartnell College, Nayelli made the president's honor roll by earning a 4.0 GPA.
Roberto is not a stranger to politics. He has grown up in a political family. His father, Robert Ocampo Sr, was on the Salinas City Council for 13 years. At the present time his mother, Sandra Ocampo, is the President of the Board, Salinas Union High School District. Throughout his career, Roberto has been a hands-on manager and instructor. He has managed educational technology systems and has taught others to use educational software and hardware. As a Technology Professional with the Alisal Union School District, Roberto trained school personnel to utilize technology. Working for Clinica De Salud Del Valle De Salinas, Roberto taught doctors, staff, and administrative personnel to utilize new electronic healthcare systems. In his present job with the Salinas City Elementary School District, Roberto supports school personnel and teachers with instructional software and hardware.
Because of his strong background in technology, Roberto is uniquely qualified to lead the district in implementing technology-based distance learning. Roberto will ensure all students have access to technology. He will also ensure that parents are provided with computer training as needed. Before Roberto started his career as a Technology Professional, he was a Loan Officer. As a loan officer, he worked with families, helping them acquire a loan to buy a home. This was personally fulfilling to Roberto, as he witnessed the joy of countless families fulfilling their dreams of buying a home.
Roberto was also the manager of a family-owned real estate business. As a former Loan Officer and manager, Robert understands the world of finance and knows how to implement successful business budgets. He will work to ensure that the budget of the Soledad Unified School District is both balanced, and meets the State of California minimum reserved of 3%.