The Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce’s PAC has endorsed Karen Goh for mayor plus Terry Maxwell and Jeffrey Tkac — instead of incumbent Harold Hanson — for council, it announced this week.
Four Bakersfield seats are up for grabs this election cycle: the office of mayor plus Bakersfield City Council spots in Wards 2, 5 and 6.
Chamber President and CEO Nick Ortiz said the PAC liked Goh’s level of experience on the Kern County Board of Supervisors, felt she understood the job of mayor and “is doing the job probably 90 percent of the time” already.
In downtown Ward 2, Ortiz said the Chamber disagrees with Maxwell on “transportation issues,” such as his opposition to widening 24th Street and building the Centennial Corridor freeway link.
But Maxwell won high marks and the endorsement over his challenger, Bakersfield City School District Trustee Andrae Gonzales, for what the PAC believes is his independent voice, for being among the best-prepared council members, and for his focus on public safety.
In far southwest Ward 5, the PAC endorsed challenger Tkac, a 21-year Bakersfield Planning Commission member and reserve police officer, over 16-year incumbent Hanson.
Hanson also serves as the city’s vice mayor and is a member of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District board — which the PAC liked.
But it liked Tkac’s service as a planning commissioner and Bakersfield reserve police officer; and his day job, as president of Water-Ways Irrigation Engineers Inc.
In southwestern Ward 6, 21-year incumbent Jacquie Sullivan faces a challenge from family law attorney Bobby Cloud — but no endorsement came from the PAC.
Ortiz said the PAC appreciates Sullivan’s many years on the council, adding: “We do not think that she’s in any danger and think that she will be elected comfortably.”
The PAC is independent from the Chamber, though four of its 11 governing board members also sit on the Chamber board.