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COUCH'S CORNER: District 4 field rep makes Kern County history

I have a very good staff. Actually, they’re great. I want to tell you about one of them, what he has accomplished recently and how it can benefit all of us.

Recently, Jesus G. Perez, a field representative in my office, achieved a personal goal of his that has not been accomplished in Kern County’s history. On June 24, Perez was elected to the California Association of Recreation and Park Districts board. This is the first time anyone from the San Joaquin Valley has ever been elected to serve at the state level for CARPD. I want to take time this week to express how proud I am of this young man and how thankful I am that he is working for me and you.

I met Jesus (aka Jesse) in July 2018 in my office after the redistricting and Lamont, Arvin, Weedpatch, south Bakersfield, etc., were now in the Fourth Supervisorial District. Jesus was then, as he is today, honorably serving as the chairman of the Bear Mountain Recreation and Park District. Alongside his district’s general manager, this young man sat with me in my office and began to tell me about his district’s needs, but also continued to talk to me about the needs of Lamont, Arvin, Weedpatch and south Bakersfield. His district covers multiple communities that were now in District 4. I immediately recognized his incredible potential and what a great future lay ahead of him.

As time passed, Jesus and I got to know each other and became good friends. He began serving his community in 2016 as a director of BMRPD, was elected to vice chairman in 2017 and has been voted chairman four consecutive years to the present day. I was very happy when Jesus reached out to our District 4 office expressing his desire to work for me as a field representative in the fall of 2020. I jumped at the opportunity to strengthen the services we deliver to the entire District 4 with this talented young man on our team.

Just months into his public service with the county as a field representative, Jesus was recognized by the city of McFarland for his outstanding service to their citizens as he has helped McFarland save substantial amounts of money. The city of McFarland recognized him with a Certificate of Recognition at one of their recent council meetings. I do not know of a time when a field representative has been recognized in that way. That may be a first.

When speaking with McFarland City Councilmember Ricardo Cano, he expressed, “Jesus has contributed to McFarland’s future success.” Councilmember Saul Ayon stated, “Jesus is a wealth a knowledge, and if he doesn’t know an answer, he will find one.”

Additionally, Jesus has been working very closely with other cities in the 4th Supervisorial District to help as needed when their staff or councilmembers have questions about the wide variety of different services available from the county.

He demonstrated his worth to me and you before it was recognized formally. However, he recently has outdone himself and has made me immensely proud of him with his recent election to the CARPD Board. He is not the first of a particular demographic group. Jesus is the first, ever, period.

As you may know, the California Association of Recreation and Park Districts is a 501c(6), not-for-profit organization representing recreation and park districts throughout California. CARPD is dedicated to improving the quality and efficiency of recreation and park districts.

CARPD members are eligible for reduced rates on workers’ compensation coverage and liability/property damage insurance, saving local communities thousands of dollars. The board of directors, of which Jesus is now a member, is made up of elected officials from recreation and park districts. They track legislation and other issues that affect member districts.

On a side note, CARPD is made up of 68 recreation and park districts throughout California. Eight of those member districts are located in Kern County. They include Tehachapi, North of the River, Buttonwillow, West Side, Shafter, Wasco, McFarland and Bear Mountain. Six of those eight special districts are located in the Fourth Supervisorial District.

Jesus made a great speech at this year’s CARPD conference in Monterey. He spoke of being raised in Lamont, and at the age of 11 he began attending the Little Bear Camp, making him a product of the services Bear Mountain Recreation provided. Later, he volunteered during his college days bringing students with him to assist Bear Mountain during their Easter Egg hunt events that put smiles on the faces of more than 300 kids.

Being the first person from the San Joaquin Valley to ever be elected to serve on CARPD, Jesus brings a statewide legislative awareness to our office and our communities. He will be your voice on the CARPD Board. If you see Jesus out and about please congratulate him on this achievement and thank him for all the hard work he does for us every day. Please visit www.caparkdistricts.org/board-members for further details.

Feel free to contact the District 4 office at 661-868-3680 or at district4@kerncounty.com if you have any ideas, suggestions or questions regarding this or any county matter.

David Couch represents Kern County’s 4th District.