By Paul Myers
visalia – This year’s election for Visalia City Council will be different than any other the city has had. Instead of electing their members at large, citizens will vote for members to represent their district. And this year, Phil Cox and Adam Peck will be vying for Visalia’s District 1 seat.
While Phil Cox has spent some time on the council before becoming a Tulare County Board supervisor, Peck will have his first go upon the dais. And because of the new district format, Peck believes the role of a council member is different than it has been in the past.
“When I’m serving on the council I’m serving all of Visalia, and I’m an ombudsman of the district… I want the citizens in the district to know that they can come to me with anything,” said Peck.
And while some may run for office on the platform that government is broken or not working for everyone, Peck notes his reasons for being in the race is not to fix something that is broken. Instead, Peck is motivated to run in order to ensure that Visalia continues to be a prosperous community.
“Some people run on a single issue and I’m not like that. I think that Visalia is a special place… but Visalia didn’t become a special place on its own. It takes work,” said Peck.
And Peck has put in the work behind the scenes. He spent 11 years on the planning commission, and has been chairman of the commission for the past three years. In that position Peck notes that he has dealt with issues that have had real impacts on citizens lives. And in addition to his time served on the planning commission Peck served on the citizens advisory committee from 2001 to 2006.
However, it was not only in his spare time that Peck had served the residents of Visalia. Instead, Peck has made a career of providing well skilled employees to industries in the area. Peck began working with the Workforce Investment Board (WIB) in 1997 when it was known as the Private Industry Council until 2000 when it changed names. And in 2003 Peck moved on to become a project manager at College of the Sequoias.
There Peck would apply for grants to help expand and establish department. In his time Peck worked with hospital and the State in order to double the size of the nursing program.
By 2007 Peck returned to the WIB as the executive director, which is the position that he currently serves. According to Peck, much of his position entails listening to the needs of businesses in terms of employees. That way, the WIB can better detail employee skills to the needs of businesses in the community.
While Peck’s professional career has centered around helping businesses succeed, and having an impact on citizens through the planning commission, Peck believes that as a councilmember he can reach out to citizens who are parents that have no time for council meetings or civic events.
“I think that being a parent of school aged children I give that voice because I’m at the school functions…I think that perspective compliments the other perspectives on the council,” said Peck.
And being a parent with school aged children gives Peck an interior look on the City’s participation with the school district. According to Peck the partnership is fruitful, most importantly when it comes to recreation and community development. Peck’s tethered perspective between the City and school district is unique to the council and is something that his opponent does not bring to the table. But nonetheless, Peck does not see Cox as an adversary.
“I consider Phil a friend. I’ve known him for 15 years and I don’t see it as I’m running against Phil, I think we are running to serve the citizens of Visalia,” said Peck.
Cox recently lost his reelection campaign to current councilwoman Amy Shuklian. Now that Cox has been unseated he hopes to regain his position on the Visalia council.