Decisions by longtime Fresno County Supervisors Phil Larson and Judy Case McNairy to retire at the end of their terms have led to large fields and competitive races for the District 1 and District 4 seats, respectively.
Many of the candidates offer extensive political and business experience, as well as community involvement, and their participation in these races suggests that Fresno County residents have reason to be optimistic about the future.
As we see it, Brian Pacheco and Gary Yep -- both Kerman residents -- have the necessary drive, skills and experience to successfully tackle many of the problems in District 1, which takes in the city of Fresno's west side and western Fresno County, and to elevate the entire county.
We, however, are recommending Pacheco because of his excellent leadership with the Kerman Unified School District Board of Trustees, Community Regional Medical Center Board of Directors and Fresno County Farm Bureau, and the vision he has shown in helping the dairy industry overcome big challenges to thrive locally.
Pacheco, a quick study, would be able to contribute as a supervisor from the get-go on important issues such as economic development, public safety, groundwater, health care, labor negotiations, land planning and the county budget. In addition, we believe he will be a strong voice for the underserved.
Magdalena Gomez -- with her background in finance, construction, labor and grass-roots advocacy -- will best serve District 4, which covers the southern county from east of Orange Cove to west of Coalinga.
Gomez's skillset would be a big plus for board. The Parlier resident will take a policy-based approach to problem-solving and can be a catalyst for improving the strained relationship between county leaders and rank-and-file employees. She also understands the important ingredients in economic development and can identify potential state and federal assistance to strengthen her district and the county.
We are impressed by the fact that Gomez sees the supervisor's position as a bully pulpit to advocate for the continued improvement of public schools -- particularly Career Technical Education programs -- and for forming more apprenticeship programs.
She identifies "creating wealth for more families" as the top priority for the impoverished district. Doing so, Gomez says, will require securing more water for farming, new infrastructure for industry and better transportation options for rural residents.
Voters have many choices in these races. We recommend Pacheco in District 1 and Gomez in District 4.