The biggest challenges facing Fresno County are growing its economy so that more residents take part in the financial recovery, securing water for rural communities and for irrigation, and improving public safety.
In the two contested races on the June 7 primary ballot, the candidates who have the top track records of accomplishment and the experience to help the Fresno County Board of Supervisors toward these goals are Dan Ronquillo in District 3 and Nathan Magsig in District 5.
Ronquillo has returned to politics after serving two terms on the Fresno City Council and losing to Phil Larson by 300 votes in a 2002 Fresno County supervisor run. His résumé includes a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Fresno State, 28 years as a probation and parole officer, extensive involvement in economic revitalization and anti-blight efforts, success as a businessman and 25 years’ residency in District 3.
His experience working with at-risk youths and in law enforcement could shape board policies and enable the supervisors to work more closely with Sheriff Margaret Mims and the Probation Department on refining public safety strategies and seeing that Fresno County’s crime-fighting and criminal-rehabilitation efforts are properly funded.
Ronquillo can be gruff, but his previous public service has shown that his heart is in the right place, and he has the edge over fellow candidates Sal Quintero, a four-term Fresno City Council member, and businessman Antonio “Tony” Gastelum.
Ronquillo will be a strong voice for constituents in the county’s most diverse district – a district long served by Henry R. Perea, who is running for mayor of Fresno and will retire at the end of the term.
Magsig, currently mayor of Clovis, is a four-term City Council member who is running for the board against agricultural consultant and small business owner Alex Ott and businesswoman Lauren Stephens.
Magsig has extensive knowledge of law enforcement, water, green energy, homelessness, nonprofits and construction. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminology, as well as a master’s in business, from Fresno State. He worked for 11 years with the Coalition for Urban Renewal Excellence, an affordable housing nonprofit, before joining the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission.
His work with Fresno EOC has included overseeing the installation of solar systems, the rehabilitation of homes for low-income families and the remodeling of a youth homeless shelter. In addition, he has helped attract new sources of capital into neighborhoods lacking access to traditional forms of financing.
On water, Magsig advocates for all methods that will increase the yield of clean and healthy drinking water for residents and irrigation water for farms. He supports construction of the proposed dam at Temperance Flat, but also backs building more underground facilities and increasing cooperation among cities and irrigation districts. Because he is well-versed in funding opportunities provided by our state and federal governments, he can be a key player in helping Fresno County successfully navigate the drought and this stricter era of water regulation.
What we like best about Magsig is that he is thoughtful and doesn’t rush to judgment. District 5 residents can vote for him knowing he will keep an open mind, dig into issues and won’t cave to special interests. We hope he will infuse the board with the spirit of cooperation and respect that has underpinned the many successes of the Clovis City Council.
In all aspects, Magsig would be a worthy successor to Debbie Poochigian, who is retiring after two terms representing the county’s east side.
We recommend Dan Ronquillo, in District 3, and Nathan Magsig in District 5, to voters.