By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
EXETER – The Exeter Republican Women Federated (ERWF) is welcoming the community to their 26th Assembly District forum tomorrow night, April 5, at 6 p.m. at the Exeter Woman’s Club. Located at 201 Kaweah Avenue republican candidates Warren Gubler, Devon Mathis and Jack Lavers will answer questions posed by moderator James Henderson, a past chair of the Tulare County Central Committee.
This is incumbent Devon Mathis’ third election cycle as assemblyman. In 2016 Mathis soundly defeated democratic candidate Ruben Macareno with 63 percent of the vote to 36 percent. In 2014 when Mathis first ran for assembly he defeated presumed front runner, Woodlake mayor Rudy Mendoza, by a seven point margin, 53 percent to 46 percent.
Despite consecutive victories 2017 proved to be a tumultuous year for Mathis who was accused of sexual assault by former staffers who remained anonymous which was then published by conservative blogger Joseph Turner. No charges were filed against Mathis following a Sacramento Police Department investigation.
Nonetheless, the Tulare County Central Committee called for Mathis’ resignation in November of last year. In the same month the Assembly Rules Committee opened their own investigation on the matter.
Warren Gubler is a first time candidate for the Assembly. He has served on the Visalia City Council since 2009 and served as vice mayor between 2013 and 2016, and now serves as the city’s mayor. According to his web site he is running against Mathis because he is not representing the interest of Tulare County cities. Gubler claims while attending the annual League of California Cities Conference (LOCC) last September, one of the items being discussed was local control of public right-of-ways in SB 649.
Gubler says Mathis made assurances he would vote no on the bill, but he went forward and voted yes. Gubler goes on to mention Mathis’ notable ‘yes’ vote to extend Cap and Trade for an additional 10 years. His vote caused a considerable stir among his constituents forcing him to hold a town hall meeting at the International Agri-Center in Tulare last summer.
Gubler says his vote on Cap and Trade is another example of his willingness to vote with “Sacramento liberal and special interests.
“Despite advertising otherwise, Mr. Mathis has merely become a tool of the special interests and lobbyists in Sacramento,” Gubler says on his campaign web site gublerforassembly.com. “Mathis claims to put people over politics, but the people he caters to now are what defines politics; Mathis’ people are the Sacramento people, not people from our Assembly District 26!”
Jack Lavers, who is a sixth generation Kern County native and rancher is the 2nd Vice President Emeritus of the California Cattlemen’s Association. Lavers announced his candidacy in November of last year.
“I have made it my life mission to advocate for small business owners and the ag industry here in California and around the nation. Frankly folks, our businesses can’t take any more hits from Sacramento elites looking for their next pay raise,” Lavers stated flanked by family and supporters. “Only the weak increase taxes and make political deals. I will fight to lower taxes and bring new business to our community.”
Also Democratic candidate for the Assembly seat, Joseph Sigala, who currently serves as a Tulare council member was not invited to the forum. California is an open primary state where the top two vote getters face off in a runoff regardless of party lines. This year’s primary is June 5.