Water, development and public safety concerns are central to the campaigns of Madera County supervisor candidates Mona Diaz and Brett Frazier.
One of the District 1 hopefuls from Madera Ranchos will soon be replacing Manuel Nevarez, who is not running for re-election. Nevarez was appointed to the seat last year by Gov. Jerry Brown after Supervisor Frank Bigelow won election to the state Assembly.
District 1 covers a large area geographically, spanning from the Fresno County line to the foothills of O'Neals.
Diaz, 66, and Frazier, 34, each have experience as public servants. Diaz is a longtime school board member who helped found Golden Valley Unified School District, and Frazier is a former Madera City Council member.
Frazier served on the council from 2010-13. During those years, members each spent a year serving as mayor.
Frazier held the post in 2012. He said the city had an $80 million budget and under his watch, he was able to grow its reserves.
Frazier previously served in a number of other roles, including: chairman of Madera's Housing Authority, chairman of the Madera Redevelopment Agency and vice-chairman of the Madera County Transportation Commission.
Diaz said her 16 years serving Golden Valley as a board member was like watching "your child grow." She wanted to see that child mature and succeed before embarking on something new: She is running for supervisor in hopes of helping more people, Diaz said.
Being voted into the district's first five-member school board was a "huge education." "We said, 'We are going to build a high school,' " Diaz recalled. "That's pretty frightening to say something that big, and go to it, and have the opportunity to get it built in three years."
Diaz has served as president of: the school board (twice), Madera County School Boards Association, Golden Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Club (twice).
Frazier also has strong ties to education. His mother is Sally Frazier, who served as Madera County's superintendent of schools from 1986 to 2010.
Both candidates have business experience. Frazier operates four Papa Murphy's pizza restaurants with his family. Diaz has served as director of marketing for her family's trucking business and previously owned a nursery and beauty salon.
The candidates also addressed a major concern for many District 1 residents: several large subdivisions planned on Madera County's Valley floor, which is being primed for explosive growth.
Approved housing developments have paved the way for as many as 35,000 new homes, which would likely serve as bedroom communities for Fresno County.
Diaz and Frazier say they would support future development, but only if developers can ensure enough water could be provided without negatively affecting existing communities.
They support the Temperance Flat Dam proposal. If approved, they say local leaders must ensure Madera County gets a portion of that water. The dam would be built on the San Joaquin River, upstream from Friant Dam.
Both say they have many allies and good networking skills to make sure that Madera County gets its share.
And each is also advocating for more water storage basins in the county.
Support for law enforcement is another priority. Frazier said if elected, he would advocate for a fully funded Sheriff's Department, which is down about 10 deputies since the Great Recession. He has the endorsements of the Madera Deputy Sheriffs Association and the Madera Police Officers Association.
Diaz said she has a number of family members who've worked in law enforcement, including her father — an officer with the Fresno Police Department for 30 years.
Law enforcement needs "100%" support from supervisors, she said, adding that she'd advocate for more deputies if funding exists, and that she'd like to promote events where residents and law enforcement meet to get to know each other and discuss issues.
Diaz called herself a "people person." "I truly care about communities … If we work together, we can make a lot of good things happen."
Frazier also expressed passion for the post, saying as a supervisor, he'd use his "experience and energy" to "make a difference for my community."