The 2020 Delano City Council candidate pool grew to seven people for three open seats in November, according to City Clerk Ricardo Chavez.
The three incumbent Delano City Council members seeking re-election are Joe Aguirre, Joe Alindajao and Grace Vallejo.
The four challengers are Carlton M. Lennon, Jaime Mendoza, Salvador Solorio-Ruiz and Veronica Vasquez.
The election is Tuesday, Nov. 3, and the seats are each four-year terms, Chavez said.
Delano City Council member incumbent Joe Aguirre said, "Overall, Delano has experienced more growth in the past 10 years than it ever has, with new business development and job creation."
"Prior to the pandemic the unemployment rate was as low as 10 percent," Aguirre said. "In 2010 unemployment was 44 percent.
"The city has established its first reserve policy and budget protecting the city residents from poor planning and lack of resources during disasters," he said. "I assisted the city with insight on disaster planning and operational objectives.
"Per council direction, I helped interview and screen for the hiring of the new Delano police chief (Robert Nevarez in July 2018.)
"As director of facilities management at Bakersfield Heart Hospital," he said, "I bring 38 years of healthcare management experience to the council, with a background in finance, cooperate policy, emergency management and with a proven track record.
"I am not ashamed of speaking of my faith in public, and I’m proud to be an American," Aguirre concluded. "I will always stand for the flag because my family and friends have sacrificed their lives for it."
Incumbent Joe Alindajao said, "It is very important to re-elect me this November because I have shown the leadership and foresight that is needed on the City Council during this pandemic. I am the only council member who called for an urgent meeting with the Kern County Public Health Director on March 13, to determine the extent of the city's response to the coming pandemic.
"On that date, there were zero cases in Kern County. Today, there are 28,530 cases, 251 deaths with 1,792 cases in Delano alone," Alindajao said. "Soon thereafter, on March 16, I voted to declare a local emergency which brought with it access to emergency funding.
"I am in constant contact with the city manager's office discussing strategies and ideas that the city can employ to protect our community," he said. "That is why on July 27, I proposed a citywide mask mandate. Although the mask mandate resolution is still being debated, it is another example of the kind of leadership I bring and will continue to bring to the City Council. The health and safety of the citizens of Delano is my top priority and I have shown it through my actions during this pandemic.
"Moreover, I believe it is important to re-elect me in order to continue the kind of 'outside-the-box initiatives' I have proposed concerning crime in our city," Alindajao said. "As a deputy district attorney, standing up for victims and their families is an important priority to me. That is why I am the only City Council member to introduce new initiatives in response to crime in our city; specifically, criminal street gangs.
"For example, some of my proposals include: partnering with the local school districts to implement an educational campaign on the dangers of gangs, introduction and implementation of surveillance cameras throughout the city, changing our property ordinance in order to hold property owners and homeowners responsible for certain crimes that occur on their properties, and proposing a gang injunction in order to disrupt the activities of criminal street gangs operating in our community," he said.
"If re-elected, I will not be a council member that is satisfied with simply casting votes, but as I have already proven, I will be the kind of council member for the city of Delano that leads with the clear goal of protecting our community, ensuring its health and well-being, and creating economic development and opportunity," he concluded. "It's been only two short years since first elected, with your help we can continue the progress."
Incumbent Delano City Council member Grace Vallejo said, "I am not waiting for re-election to do something about the pandemic. I have worked to obtain masks for the mask giveaways and to ensure that the local testing site hours/days work for our residents, however, there is more yet to be done.
"I have reached out to our state and federal legislators on legislation that affects our city and county, as we deal with this pandemic and its various effects such as evictions, food, virtual learning and unemployment," she said. "These are but a few of the things needed to be done by those elected on Nov 3.
"By re-electing me, Grace Vallejo, I will use my experience, leadership, passion for Delano, my resources, state and federal relationships to address the pandemic issues current and future while continuing to work on the things required to keep and move Delano forward toward a better quality of life, something that should never end," Vallejo finished.