Because only two candidates are seeking election to the nonpartisan seat, whoever gets the most votes June 7 wins outright.
District 3 is centered on Visalia, the county seat.
It tells me someone is trying to hide something.It tells me they’re scared.
Shuklian, on the Tulare County Republican Central Committee’s email letter pointing out the change
Cox, a former Visalia council member, is a three-term supervisor.
“Let’s keep what’s working,” Cox said. “In the 11 years I’ve been on the board, I’ve made the county more user-friendly.”
He said he launched the Step Up program to divert at-risk youths away from gangs.
“Juvenile crimes is down 60 percent in Pixley,” he said, and buses operate seven days a week giving children rides to youth programs.
But Shuklian said Cox has been complacent.
“It’s time for some fresh perspective and new energy – with experience,” she said. “I think I can lead better than he’s been leading. I’m someone who works hard and cares about our region and treats people respectfully and makes decisions based on sound reasoning.”
Mooney Grove Park has dying trees because the county was far too slow to drill a new well, yet “Phil got defensive” when people started complaining, she said.
“It’s a county treasure,” she said. “It’s been neglected until the last six months.”
Cox said drought caused the well to go dry and the board passed an emergency ordinance to drill a new one when it learned of the problem.
“It’s ludicrous to blame the drought and dying trees on Phil Cox,” he said.
When Shuklian complains about his leadership, “it really bothers me,” he said.
The county boosted the pay of many employees by 35 percent to 40 percent to be in line with neighboring counties, juvenile crime is down and building permits are way up.
“The county is moving at light speed,” he said. “We are looked at as one of the best-funded counties.”
Shuklian also criticized Cox for his support of buying the Cigna building on Akers Street in Visalia.
“The county has to spend money to maintain it” but no one has said how much that will be or how much it will cost to remodel it for county needs, she said.
Let’s keep what’s working.
Phil Cox, incumbent
But Cox said buying the Cigna building is one of the smartest things the county has done.
“It will take care of our needs for 15 years,” he said. “We paid $84 per square foot and it would cost $400 per square foot to build one.”
Although it’s a nonpartisan race, the Tulare County Republican Central Committee issued an email letter warning that “Amy Shuklian is NOT conservative. She was a registered Democrat for many years and recently declined to state her designation, so that she can pose as someone with conservative values.”
Cox said, “It tells me someone is trying to hide something.”
But Shuklian said, “it’s too bad they have to stoop to that. It tells me they’re scared.”
The letter also charged that Shuklian “supports the High Speed Rail boondoggle, has championed a sales tax increase for November, and voted with radical environmentalists to retire productive farmland.”
She said she is fiscally conservative.
I think I can lead better than he’s been leading.
Amy Shuklian, challenger
She also faulted Cox for stating on Facebook that he supports “conservative family values.” It’s a veiled attack on her for being gay, she said.
Cox denied the phrase is a veiled attack.
“I accept someone wanting to be gay,” he said. “I think she’s persecuting me for being a straight, family-valued man. I still believe marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Both candidates have raised significant campaign funds.
Shuklian has raised more than $60,000 from January through late April, and the Tulare County Deputy Sheriff’s Association endorsed her.
“I’m overwhelmed by the support I’m getting,” Shuklian said.
Cox raised $40,000 in the same period, and Sheriff Mike Boudreaux endorsed him.
Cox said Shuklian’s campaign finance documents show that she accepted $15,000 from HealthCare Conglomerates Associates, the company that operates Tulare District Hospital.
The chief executive officer of HealthCare also donated $38,000 to help defeat the Kaweah Delta Health Care District’s Measure H bond measure, Cox noted.
“She didn’t support the bond measure and it’s her employer,” Cox said.
Shuklian said because Kaweah Delta is her employer, as a council member she stayed neutral on Measure H to avoid a perceived conflict of interest, and accepted the donation well before the Measure H controversy erupted.
“He doesn’t know how I voted,” she said.
Tulare County District 3 supervisor candidates
Occupation: Recreational therapist, Visalia City Council member
Endorsements: Tulare County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, Stan Simpson, Eric Shannon, Fred Lagomarsino, Mel Borbolla, Luther Khachigian, Joe Altschule, others
Occupation: Tulare County supervisor
Family: Married, seven children, 12 grandchildren
Endorsements: Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, District Attorney Tim Ward, Jim Armstrong, Brian Blain, Marilyn Kinoshita, Connie Conway, Tom Johnson, others