CALEXICO – Instability within the Calexico City Council has cracked open the door for an intriguing group of young political newcomers hoping to bring solidity, vision and innovative concepts to Calexico as the election race begins.
During a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the Holiday Inn, four men announced their candidacy, expressing several goals and ideas they want implemented if elected to the Calexico City Council, Calexico Unified School District, and Heffernan Memorial Healthcare District in the November 8 elections.
Two candidates for Calexico City Council, Manny Hernandez and Angel Esparza, stressed the importance of team effort and unity when it comes to decision-making in matters affecting city employees, community members and businesses.
“I see a divided Calexico that needs to be united,” said Hernandez, owner of American Group Real Estate Agency. “All of those problems that we are facing cannot be conquered by one individual; those problems need to be resolved as a unit, as ‘one’ Calexico. We have had seven city managers in the past six years; stability is necessary so people can stay focused. Everything starts at the top. If the head is not in the right place, the rest of the body will not function properly.”
Hernandez knows firsthand the struggles of starting and maintaining a business in the city. He said having strong leadership creates stability and would be the first step in the right direction to address the needs of existing businesses, while working together to attracting new businesses.
“I experienced quite of bit of struggles with my business,” said Hernandez. “I want to do something positive for the community and give something back. I want to make sure our Calexico community is represented properly with educated and honest leaders who seek the community good. We need leaders who inspire, leaders who push for motivation; leaders who inject hope to our residents.”
Entrepreneur Angel Esparza said being a young candidate was a strong advantage.
“The fact we are young is an advantage,” said Esparza. “Most of our representatives are older and because we are young we have a completely new perspective to share. I strongly believe empowering a younger generation who have diverse ideas is what the city needs to be great again. This would also create stronger relationships with people that have ideas to make our community better. We can shift our conversations. Instead of talking about other people, we start taking about ideas, and how to make them happen.”
If elected, Esparza’s goals as a councilman consist of aesthetics, awareness and actions.
“I want to create a great first impression when entering the city, bring awareness to different platforms especially social media. Utilize the powerful tool to inform the community about being involved, and create a better relationship with our citizens,” said Esparza.
Esparza added Calexico is a small community; citizens need to take advantage of the closeness and work as a community helping each other, not breaking each other.
Hoping to fill one of the three seats at the Calexico Unified School District, Antonio Ramirez emphasized the importance of engaging and motivating students to read more to achieve higher test scores and create a brighter future.
“If you can’t read, you can’t do anything,” said Ramirez. “When we have kids going into high school reading at a third grade level, we are hurting the kids. If this pattern continues, when they exit high school, they will be at a disadvantage to the rest of the country. We need to find ways to help students be better readers.”
Ramirez remarked a working relationship among students, teachers, staff, parents, and the school board was essential to a child’s education.
“We need to create harmony and connection in order to progress,” said Ramirez. “Teachers need to be heard because they are essential. They not only teach your kids, they guide and lead them into the future. Brighter students mean a more prosperous Calexico. Calexico students will take our city to the next level to reach its full potential. One person cannot get this done. It takes a village, and grand amount of determination, but more than anything it takes the right people.”
Hector Martinez candidate for one of three seats at Heffernan Memorial Healthcare District envisions a healthier community by providing and promoting healthy recreational programs.
“My goal is to see every Calexico citizen living a healthy life while encouraging others to do the same,” said Martinez. “I would like to increase student athletes in our community by conducting different seminars and informing (Calexico) how a well-balanced lifestyle can bring great rewards to one’s personal life.”
Martinez added that parental involvement in a child’s health is important and essential in making children aware of living a healthy lifestyle.
Calexico Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Hildy Carillo said it was exciting to see youngsters running for office.
“Having young leaders is a feather in our hats because this is exactly what we need to get us out of what is going on,” said Carillo. “Calexico didn’t start today, you need to go back and learn its history and base yourselves on the history of the community. You, recognizing the potential this city has, is a big plus. I think a good and creative attitude and heart will get us a lot further than arguing and not moving forward.”
Candidates competing for the three seats at Calexico City Council include Joong S. Kim, Angel Esparza, Luis Castro, Jason Jung, Esther Alicia Marquez, Manny Hernandez, Jesus Escobar, Bill Hodge, James Beaver, and Margaret Sauza.
Candidates competing for three seats at the Calexico Unified School District include Antonio Ramirez, Michael Falcon, Vincent Cuevas, Manuel Yanez, Enrique Alvarado, Ana Corona Vizcarra, Ciro Calderon, Orlando Espino, Norma Aguilar, Priscilla Real, Raul Ureña, Michael Castillo, and Antonio Valenzuela.
Candidates competing for the two seats for the Heffernan Memorial Healthcare District include Rosie Fernandez, Rodolfo Valdez, Hector Martinez, Gloria Romo, Eduardo Gutierrez, and Javier Gonzalez.