Visalia Mayor Warren Gubler says he will face off against Devon Mathis for California State Assembly District 26 in 2018 election
VISALIA – The mayor of the largest population in California’s 26th Assembly District says he represents more than the City of Visalia when it comes to sharing values of majority in this area. And on Thursday, he vowed to do something about it.
Visalia Mayor Warren Gubler announced on Sept. 28 his candidacy for California State Assembly in the 2018 election. The local attorney and businessman said his primary reason for running for the Assembly District 26 seat is a direct response to the ineffective representation in Sacramento since Devon Mathis was first elected to represent Visalia and surrounding communities in November 2014. Gubler went so far as to call the second term Assemblyman “a mere tool of the special interests and lobbyists.”
“At the urging of many, I have now entered the arena and accept the challenge to unseat an entrenched politician. I can no longer stand silently by and see the incumbent be given this election by default, which would surely result in more years of the same in Sacramento from him,” said Gubler.
According to Gubler, the most recent example of Mathis’ ineffective leadership came just a few weeks ago regarding SB 649, a bill being pushed by the telecommunications industry designed to take away local government control over public right-of-ways and give it to the telecom industry. The cities in Tulare County were opposed to this bill and Mathis publicly stated that on Aug. 10, 2017, he’d be voting “no.” However, on Sept. 14, he voted “yes.”
Adding fuel to the fire, Mathis voted in July to extend the state’s Cap-and-Trade program, which the Legislative Analyst’s office estimates could increase gas prices in California as much as 63 cents a gallon by 2021.
“It has become painfully obvious that the support for Mr. Mathis has eroded as he has failed to keep his promises to the local electorate,” said Gubler.
Gubler was elected to the Visalia City Council in 2009 and was Visalia’s vice-mayor from 2013 to 2016, and has served as mayor since 2016. During his eight years on the Council, Gubler and the Council have had a long list of accomplishments including:
- Planned and built the Visalia Water Conservation Plant upgrade, the largest public works project in Visalia history, $130 million upgrade, to be dedicated Fall 2017
- Planned and built the Visalia Emergency Communications Center
- Balanced the city budget each year since 2009
- Instituted work program for homeless known as the Environmental Cleanup Opportunities (ECO)
Gubler was born in Exeter and grew up in Porterville where he worked various jobs, including as a paperboy for the Porterville Recorder, to pay his way through college. He earned his Eagle Scout rank at age 14. He graduated from Porterville High School in 1975, where he lettered in cross-country, basketball and track, played the trumpet for Buck Shaffer’s marching band and Fabulous Studio Band, and was senior class president.
After high school, Gubler attended one year of junior college, then served as a Mormon missionary for two years in Okinawa and Japan, where he became fluent in Japanese. Returning to America, he finished his junior college degree, and then transferred to Brigham Young University, where he obtained a degree in Government, and attended law school there. During law school he married his sweetheart Alisa and they have five children and two grandchildren.
Gubler started as an associate in 1983 with the Visalia law firm of Hurlbutt, Clevenger, Long & Vortmann, working his way up to senior partner. When that firm dissolved in 2001, Warren started the law firm now known as Gubler & Abbott LLP.
Warren Gubler and his wife Alisa are grateful to be part of the Tulare County community, and look forward to giving back even more by serving in the California State Assembly. “I perfectly understand that I am the underdog in this race and that the Sacramento special interests will fund my opponent,” said Gubler. “However, I also understand the deep frustration and dissatisfaction which our local citizens have felt with our lack of a voice in Sacramento, and as such, I now take up the challenge. We deserve better!”