Election 2020: Candidates answer questions on business

Five candidates vying for Tulare County supervisor districts one and three answer questions regarding business in the county

The Sun-Gazette

TULARE COUNTY – Candidates for Tulare County board supervisor in district one and three were asked to respond to a questionnaire. All questions were crafted by The Sun-Gazette and Visalia Chamber of Commerce, and focus on business activity related to Tulare County.

District 1

Kuyler Crocker

Biography
I’m a third generation Strathmore High alumnus, graduate of Fresno State grad with degrees in business and public administration, and a fifth generation Tulare County farmer.  I serve on multiple county, regional, statewide, and national committees advocating for public safety, roads, water, and forest health.

What is the biggest issue facing businesses in your district?
Water continues to be the largest issue.  Issues I am involved with include: safe drinking water fund, securing $171,000,000 to build Temperance Flat, being the only elected official involved with the Water Blueprint for the San Joaquin Valley, requesting funds to fix the Friant Kern Canal, and SGMA implementation.  

Does recreational marijuana have a place in Tulare County?
Currently, the State of California allows recreational use and is sold in two cities in Tulare County. I do not support the County being in the marijuana dispensary business.  I support cracking down on illegal grows in our rural neighborhoods and on our public lands, which routinely support cartel operations.  

What is the County’s role in recruiting and keeping major employers?
No impact fees, which helps in attract and expand local businesses, e.g. Children’s Hospital Clinic.  Robust job training program through our WIB that helps provide a qualified workforce to employers.  Build regional infrastructure to support employers (Betty Drive, Caldwell Interchange, Commercial, expansion of 99).  Creation of an economic development plan.

Robyn Stearns

Biography
Former mayor of Exeter, I was elected and served on Exeter City Council for 8 years. I have been a self-employed business owner for over 37 years. Started and owned the Wildflower Cafe in Exeter, I’ve been a realtor for 18 years. Experienced in local politics. 

Biggest issue facing businesses in your district?
Our county needs to be user friendly for businesses. We need to work together with the cities to keep building fees low and encourage new business in our area. Becoming familiar with our current customer base and issues will assist us in bringing new industry to our area. 

Does recreational marijuana have a place in Tulare County?
My feeling is no. For the last 40 years we have discouraged smoking why would we now want to encourage marijuana use? Many states like Colorado for example are seeing a multitude of problems with the legalization of recreational marijuana. 

County’s role in recruiting and keeping major employers?

Our role is to provide customer friendly service. This includes being proactive with the leads that come into our area. There needs to be short cuts to the process that assist developers in getting the zoning and approvals they need to get their project underway. Single point of contact is also important to developers.

Larry Micari

Biography
Born in Tulare County, I reside in Exeter with my wife Beth and two daughters. Serving my career in law enforcement, I obtained my BS in Criminal Justice Management and retired with the rank of Captain from the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, serving as Patrol Deputy, Terrorism Liaison, K-9, Internal Affairs, Criminal Investigator, Search and Rescue.

What is the biggest issue facing businesses in your district?
Over regulations, mandated burdens such as AB5 and healthcare results in stagnant job creation and loss of employment.

Does recreational marijuana have a place in Tulare County?
While it’s been decriminalized in the State of California, I view the use of recreational marijuana as similar to alcohol.  My concern which I have witnessed through my career is the potential for substance abuse and the long term damage it does.

What is the county’s role in recruiting and keeping major employers?
Encourage the development of business’ and work with new and existing employers to provide employment opportunities to our citizens of Tulare County.

District 3

Amy Shuklian

Biography
I was raised on my family’s farm on the Tulare/Kings County line.  I graduated from Fresno State and worked in the mental health and rehabilitation field. Prior to being elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2016, I served 9 years on the Visalia City Council, 2 years as Mayor.

What is the biggest issue facing businesses in your district?
While the homeless issue has certainly caused great frustration and nuisance to many of our local businesses, I believe some of the bigger issues are the many complex regulations i.e.  minimum wage increases, workers compensation and insurance costs, higher taxes etc. put upon our businesses by the state legislature.

Does recreational marijuana have a place in Tulare County?
Since recreational marijuana is now legal in California it does have a place in Tulare County, but not necessarily in the unincorporated areas. Many of our incorporated cities are adopting ordinances that allow the sales of recreational marijuana.  I do not want to see proliferation of dispensaries throughout our county.

What is the County’s role in recruiting and keeping major employers?
Making the process streamlined and business friendly plays a pivotal role in recruiting employers to Tulare County. Having our in-house economic development response team helps us to rapidly assist those companies seeking to locate here. Providing a safe community with quality of life amenities also helps in recruitment and retention.

Brad Maaske

Biography
Brad has been self-employed in Real Estate and Construction for over 40 years.   He is an expert in Real Estate Law and has been answering consumers questions on KMJ radio for the past 30 years.  He has served and currently serves on several Tulare County government boards and committees.

What is the biggest issue facing businesses in your district?
Homelessness!  Visalia has a disproportionate number of homeless and the majority suffers from addiction/mental illness.  We must provide temporary low barrier housing that allows them to obtain needed services, somewhere to safely stay and lock up their belongings; then we can enforce existing laws to clean up our communities.

Does recreational marijuana have a place in Tulare County?
The state of California law now states yes.  We still have a right to limit where and how it is distributed and used.  Additionally, we will have the right to fully monitor and regulate how the industry operates in Tulare County.

What is the County’s role in recruiting and keeping major employers?
We must do everthing in our power to reduce government red tape and encourage businesses of all sizes to locate in Tulare County.  The permitting process for businesses needs to be friendly, fast and welcoming.

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