EL CENTRO — After serving three terms on the Board of Supervisors as Chairman, District 2 Supervisor, and 25 years total in public service, Jack Terrazas is officially retiring beginning January 2, 2017.
The legacy of Jack Terrazas that will live on is not the fact that he knew many people or how popular he was. Instead, it will be that helped fight hunger in Imperial County by starting up the backpack program. That, and how he helped in bringing to fruition the Imperial Valley Mall, where the Valley now can do their shopping.
“I thought this was going to be an easy day and an easy way to say goodbye, but it’s definitely harder than I thought,” said Terrazas. “It’s been a tough ride the last couple of years but I feel good and I thank the All Mighty for this and my wife who really took care of me during those times. I want to thank my family and friends for being such a big support.”
In 2015, Terrazas announced he would be running for a third term on the board, however shortly after received news that his melanoma had gone into remission and underwent surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, however the melanoma kept coming back. Desperate to find a solution, Terrazas opted a last resort, taking a new drug (Opdivo) that had recently been approved by the Drug Administration. Seven months later Terrazas was cancer free.
Having gone through such a tough time, in February 2016, Terrazas announced he would not seek re-election and would focus on his health and spending quality time with his family, grandchildren, friends, and loved ones.
District 3 Supervisor Michael Kelley, who has known Terrazas for numerous years, presented Terrazas with a special recognition and plaque during the Board of Supervisors meeting on December 20 and said he was honored to have served on numerous boards with Terrazas.
“A special recognition to Jesus “Jack” Terrazas in appreciation for eight years of dedicated service and invaluable support as an Imperial County District 2 Supervisor from 2009 to 2016 and Chairman from 2011 and 2016,” said Kelley.
Kelley went on to say it has been a pleasure and honor to work with Terrazas for the past eight years.
“You held the communities best interest in your heart and in my opinion never made the wrong decisions,” said Kelley. “You looked out for the betterment and future of the Imperial County residents. It was a pleasure serving with you as the gentlemen that you are. I admire the sincere interest that you have in devoting your life to betterment of the lives of the people and I wish the best in the years to come.”
District 5 Supervisor also said it had been a pleasure serving on numerous boards with Terrazas.
“You have been a friend and a mentor to me, even going back to my Planning Commission days in the 80’s and 90’s where my political career started thanks to you,” said Castillo. “When I came to the board our unemployment rate was in the thirties and due to your leadership that number has dropped to the low twenties and this is going to be your legacy. I’m going to miss you.”
District 1 Supervisor John Renison echoed Castillo and Kelley and said Terrazas was a great resource for him.
“Terrazas always wants to do the best for the county and that is greatly appreciated,” said Renison.
District 4 Supervisor Ryan Kelley recalled meeting Terrazas when he first opted to run and said since then has appreciated Terrazas advice and his council.
“I would call Jack occasionally for advice when I first came on the board and I appreciate his guidance and friendship throughout these years,” said Kelley.
Terrazas began his career in the Imperial County Planning Commission Department since 1989 and a total of 25 years serving the Imperial County serving on numerous boards.
While serving on the Board of Supervisors during his eight-year tenure, Terrazas has numerous accomplishments including; to help fight hunger by adopting the backpack program, adopted budgets to maintain a fiscally sound county that has avoided layoffs while preserving a high quality of services for Imperial County residents, improved the public bus transportation system, including purchasing 16 state-of-the-art, fuel efficient, air-conditioned buses to replace the aged fleet, constructed a new, much needed community center in Heber through a combination of money savings and grants, established an abundant renewable energy industry, leading to the creation of hundreds of quality construction jobs, while remaining true to the Valley’s rich agricultural heritage and enhanced bi-national relationships with Baja California counterparts and government entities to improve child support establishment, collection, and distribution services.
In addition to the work that Supervisor Terrazas achieved with the board, he currently serves on the Imperial County Board of Retirement, Imperial County Transportation Commission (ICTC) and Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). The Imperial County Board of Retirement manages the Imperial County Employees’ Retirement System, which is the highest funded public retirement system in the state of California with a 90% asset to liability ratio. ICTC and SCAG are both transportation planning organizations. While serving on these two organizations, relations have improved with Caltrans, who is currently planning to invest $500 million in state highway improvements over the next two years, creating many construction jobs.