An Interview with Eddie Valero, District 4 representative, chair of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors

Eddie Valero is the elected official that represents Ivanhoe and Northern Tulare County on the Tulare County Board of Supervisors. He is the first Latino to have been elected to serve in this role and  has served for nearly four years as supervisor. In 2021 he was appointed as Board Chairman. 

Prior to being elected Supervisor in 2016, ​ Valero was elected to the Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District in 2012 and served as School Board President for three consecutive years, 2016–2018. He is a native of Cutler-Orosi, graduated from Orosi High School in 2000, and completed undergraduate and graduate degrees from Cornell University. 

Our team at the Ivanhoe Sol reached out to Eddie to provide some updates to his priorities  and to provide additional information for Ivanhoe residents to learn about his role. 

The interview is as follows: 

1. What are your duties and responsibilities as the Board Chairman?

“As a county supervisor, I am responsible for maintaining a budget of 1.6 billion dollars with four other supervisors. I represent the northern portion of the county, while my four colleagues represent other areas of Tulare County. A county supervisor helps oversee county government and represents local residents. A county supervisor is a member of a local government board that helps to provide local legislation, budgeting and more by voting on issues that impact residents locally. County supervisors rule on many kinds of local laws, often called ordinances. “

2. What communities do you serve?

“I represent District Four in Tulare County. District Four comprises the following unincorporated communities: Badger, Cutler-Orosi, Elderwood, Goshen, Ivanhoe, London, Monson-Sultana, Seville, Traver, Three Rivers and Yettem. The cities represented in District 4 include Dinuba, Woodlake, and a portion of Visalia.”

3. What are some of your accomplishments that you feel most proud of during your time serving as County Supervisor?

• Clean drinking water to communities of Yettem and Seville

• Worked collaboratively with State officials for the East Orosi Community Service District and Orosi Public Utilities District consolidation process

• Completion of the Cutler-Orosi JUSD Sports Complex 5-million-dollar project

• Improved vehicle and vacant building abatement program (and the recent demolition of old meat packing plant on Avenue 384)

• Increased vaccine allocation to Tulare County through direct advocacy at the State level

• New and improved safety measures for Avenue 328 and Road 160 in the community of Ivanhoe, along with two major projects in the works 

• Initiated a Young Leaders Academy for high school students to learn about local government

• Held over 10 town hall meetings with County staff to address residents’ concerns

• Worked  with staff to start a street sweeper program in unincorporated areas of the County

• Provided food boxes and resources to Badger, Monson-Sultana and Traver during the pandemic

• Recognized various nonprofit organizations with Good Works Funding at Seeds of Love events

• Voted to bring in major development project to Cadwell and HWY99 that will include a Valley Children’s Speciality Center, Great Wolf Lodge with Water Park, retail and restaurants, and Tulare County Visitor Center

• Major development to Goshen, including a Starbucks, Burger King, gas station, and other projects in the works

4. What are some of the challenges you have overcome during your time as County Supervisor?

“The redistricting process was a major challenge, but we eventually worked together to provide a great, equitable map that the County can be proud of. The pandemic really stretched us all in our leadership capacity. COVID-19 has definitely tested my patience, but I believe I have become a stronger leader as a result. I’ve learned so much about conflict resolution, and believe there is still a lot to learn.”

5. What are your core values and how do they shape how you lead?

“Some of my core values include transparency, honesty, compassion, servanthood, and community. I believe these attributes and values have shaped who I am as a person, and continue to put them front and center in all that I do.” 

6. What are some of the needs that you see as priority in our district?

“Tulare County is a county full of possibilities and promise, but it is also a county with persistent poverty and problems. The water-energy nexus is clearly evident here, given its topography, production, and power. Despite the challenges we face daily, and know there are plenty, I assure you that there are local advocates who are working tirelessly with community-based organizations to change the game and change the frame for our underserved and under-resourced communities.

Being on the County Board of Supervisors for the past 3 years, I realize that we still have more work to do still in reaching equity and equality for the people I represent and all of Tulare County for that matter.  As you may know, Tulare County is one of the most crop and dairy producing Counties in the entire World, 3rd to Fresno County 1st and Kern County 2nd. Yet, we couple that amazing attribute with the heartrending reality of people in poverty. Thankfully after a few years of challenge and change, I was able to partner with Community Water Center in pressuring the State Water Board and eagerly pushing its president Joaquin Esquivel to mandatorily consolidate East Orosi into Orosi’s water system (located only 1 mile away). Back in October of 2018, the State requested a process of voluntary consolidation from Orosi, as it had encouraged OPUD to meet with ECSD. Two years later, no meetings materialized and the standstill was growing even more. Thus, action was required and a vehicle through which a politicized consciousness was motivated by socio-economic-and political justice. Though, if you take the case of progress for our various communities across California, most of it is done through collective action. “    

7. What can we expect from you in your next term?

“I want to continue giving our rural, unincorporated communities a voice while working collaboratively with our city partners. Our rural communities require a lot more work, and I want to make sure I continue seeing change in these communities. I still want to be their voice and make sure they, too, can believe in change for all. It has happened and it is still possible. “

8. Do you have a message you would like to tell your constituents?

“John Legend once said, “The reason I’m here, the reason I’ve had such a wonderful journey so far, is that I’ve found love. Yes, love. We were all made to love. And I’ve found that we live our best lives, we are at our most successful, not simply because we’re smarter than everyone else, or because we hustle harder. Not because we become millionaires more quickly. The key to success, the key to happiness, is opening your mind and your heart to love. Spending your time doing things you love and with people you love.”

“As you can see, the definition of success isn’t measured in money and material things, but it is measured in love and joy and the lives you’re able to touch — the lives you’re able to help. And, years from now, when you look back on your time here on earth, your life and your happiness will be way more defined by the quality of your relationships, not the quantity. It’s about finding and keeping the best relationships possible with the people around you. It’s about immersing yourself in your friendships and your family. It’s about being there for the people you care about, and knowing that they’ll be there for you. This is what I hope to continue as your County Supervisor. I want to continue growing my current relationships and building new ones so that everyone has the ability to voice their concerns or raise questions. I want to make sure we are paving the way for the next generation. I’ve realized that it takes a team to fulfill a dream, and we are working tirelessly to realize this.”

Supervisor Valero can be reached via email at [email protected] or phone at (559) 636-5000. 

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