This column was contributed by Frank Barragan, who is running for San Benito County Supervisor District 2. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.
I’m raising a family of fourth-generation kids in San Benito County. My grandparents picked one of the best counties to raise a family. I plan on continuing the legacy they gave me and I will fight to preserve our county’s agricultural community, its open spaces, and its hometown feel. Almost every day of the week, my son and I drive through San Juan Bautista, Aromas, and Hollister discussing the importance of school, community, life, and careers. San Benito is the place where my children and your children should raise a family, create and enhance our community, and continue our heritage.
I’m running for San Benito County Supervisor to ensure that our heritage is alive and strong in San Benito County. I know we will be faced with tough decisions over commercial development, housing construction, and road infrastructure. My decisions will always take you and your families into account as well as the heritage of this county. My focus as supervisor will be to work with our local, state, federal officials as well as our county departments to move the needle on improving our road infrastructure, economic development, and public safety.
We need a leader that has successfully created a sense of purpose and community in the workplace and effectively handled and managed the inertia of government agencies bogged down in politics. We have to elect a person who will motivate our county staff to give direction to state agencies instead of taking direction from the state with regard to upgrading our broken and out of date transportation system. Modernizing roads will help improve commute times and increase our quality of life by allowing us to spend more time with family and friends, visit local eateries, retail stores, and enjoying our open spaces. We cannot let our children suffer another 20 years of constant traffic congestion and fatalities on Highway 25. The slogan: “Stay alive on 25” means fixing the problem, not talking about it.
Another area I will focus on is attracting new businesses and jobs to San Benito County as well as supporting existing businesses. In order to attract new businesses, we have to establish a business identity and a welcoming economic culture. There has always been discussion about attracting Silicon Valley businesses to San Benito County, but not much has been done. This can be done, but it can only be done if we fix our transportation issues.
My plan is to attract high-tech agricultural companies with cutting-edge technology such as vertical farming, farming robotics, and agricultural research facilities to invest in a new agricultural industrial zone designed to accommodate them. Our agricultural heritage and human capital will attract high-tech agriculture investors. There are many venture capital firms that are willing to invest millions of dollars in these types of agricultural technologies.
I have been part of the agricultural business since graduating from grad school. I will be able to work with these companies and attract them to our community to create high-paying jobs and bring in investment into our county without drastically changing the make-up of our community. San Benito County has highly-skilled individuals that could work locally in high-tech agricultural companies. In continuing our push for higher-paying jobs and attracting new companies, we also still need to focus on job and vocational training programs.
Although our county has grown over time, I believe we still have a sense of a small-town community. A sense of a small-town community comes from feeling protected. In continuing our local community heritage, I will work tirelessly to continue improving our public safety. All government agencies will need to work together to recruit more law enforcement personnel. We need to increase patrols countywide to protect our community. We will also need to focus on upgrading public safety vehicles and equipment to protect our fire and safety officers while they work to protect our community.
My education and my 17 years of experience has prepared me for this position, its challenges and the decisions that need to be made. I am committed to working hard, always putting what is best for our families first and always keeping our county government accountable.
On this coming election, I will be honored to have your support and most importantly your vote. Please join me in preserving our heritage and community.
Candidate for San Benito County Board of Supervisors, District 2