POLICY COUNCIL MEMBERS
TULARE COUNTY REPRESENTATIVES
Mayor Rudy Mendoza (Vice Chair)
Mayor Rudy Mendoza, City of Woodlake – Rudy Mendoza is a native of Woodlake, CA, a farming community on the eastern stretch of Tulare County. A first generation Mexican-American, Rudy labored in Central Valley fields alongside his family early on in his career, having picked oranges and grapes among other crops until his early twenties when he was named the youngest farm manager of a well-established farming operation in Porterville, CA. Rudy was re-elected to serve his second term on the Woodlake City Council this past November and currently presides as Mayor of the City of Woodlake. Rudy is active on several boards and commissions in his capacity as Mayor, currently serving as the Vice Chair of the Tulare County Association of Governments, Tulare County Water Commission, LAFCO, Small Business Advisory, San Joaquin Valley Policy Council, and the CALVans Authority just to name a few. Rudy works as the Operations Manager to a Central Valley Conglomerate as well as running his own Consulting Firm, Mendoza Consulting which specializes in Risk Management and Human Resource support for small business. Prior to reentering the private sector, Rudy worked for seven years as a Field Representative to Congressman Devin Nunes (R) Tulare, who represents California’s 22nd Congressional District. His day to day role is being a liaison between the constituents of the 22nd Congressional District and the Federal Government.
Supervisor Dennis Townsend
Supervisor Dennis Townsend, Tulare County District #5 – Supervisor Townsend is a Licensed Architect and owner of Townsend Architectural Group in Porterville. A graduate of Monache High School, he went on to earn an Associate of Arts in Architecture from the College of the Sequoias and graduated Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Supervisor Townsend was employed by Wayne F. Harris and Associates, R.L. Schafer and Associates, and Hobbs Architectural Group before opening Townsend Architectural Group in 2001. Working and living in Porterville and Springville, Townsend is involved in various community and volunteer organizations. He is a past Rotary President and a multiple Paul Harris Fellow. A graduate of Leadership Porterville, he has since served as a sponsor and mentor to the program. Townsend has served for several years on the advisory board for Harmony Magnet Academy and provides mentoring, lecturing, critiques, interviews, and internships to the Academy of Engineering students. Townsend has served as past President of the Sierra View Foundation, raising funds and advocating for the Sierra View Medical Center in Porterville. Supervisor Townsend continues to serve on the Habitat for Humanity Building Hope in Porterville Board as well as the Man Alive planning board for the annual men’s event. He also serves as an elder and worship team member at Lighthouse Chapel in Springville. He is a past Porterville Chamber of Commerce Board member and currently serves on the Government Affairs Committee. His company, Townsend Architectural Group, was honored by the Chamber as the “Small Business of the Year for 2017”. He is also a member of the Springville Chamber of Commerce and was honored by that organization as “Man of the Year,” in 2009.
FRESNO COUNTY REPRESENTATIVES
Mayor Gary Yep
Mayor Gary Yep, City of Kerman – Born and raised in Kerman California, Mayor Yep graduated from Kerman High School. He has a A.S. degree in Real Estate from Fresno City College, a B.S. in Marketing from San Diego State University and a Joint MBA, International Finance and Law Degree from University of San Francisco. Mayor Yep also attended The University of Paris, Sorbonne Institute and Trinity College in Dublin Ireland focusing on Legal and International Finance issues of the European community prior to the conversion of the Euro. His adventures and education continued even further when he spent a summer completing a MBA Program in Hong Kong, comparing Asian Business practices with the American and European Markets. Mayor Yep was admitted as an attorney in California in 1995. He serves as the current President of Valley Food Super Center; co-owner with his brothers Mark & Jerry Yep. Their Kerman business was established in 1955 by his parents Henry & Jean Yep.Mayor Yep and his wife Stephanie have been married for 9 years and have 2 children, Jake & Sydney. He was first elected in 2010 as Mayor and re-elected in November 2012.
KERN COUNTY REPRESENTATIVES
Supervisor Zach Scrivner
Supervisor Zach Scrivner, County of Kern District 2 – Zack is proudly serving the communities of Bakersfield, Boron, Caliente, California City, Maricopa, Mojave, Rosamond, Taft and Tehachapi. Elected to the Board in 2010, Zack represents the Board of Supervisors on several commissions and boards, including Kern Council of Governments, Kern Land Agency Formation Commission (Chairman 2013 & 2017), and the Kern Economic Development Corporation. Before his election to the Board of Supervisors, Zack served six years on the Bakersfield City Council, representing Ward 7, and was Vice-Mayor 2009-10. While on the City Council, Zack was the District Director for California State Assembly Member Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) from 2006-2010. From 2002-2006, Zack was the Field Representative for Assembly Republican Leader, and now Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy. Zack’s priorities are private-sector job growth, particularly in the areas of aerospace, alternative energy, mining and logistics, as well as tough fiscal management and innovation in county government. He has been an outspoken advocate for public employee pension reform in local government, and spearheaded Measure D, the successful ballot measure, approved by voters in the City of Bakersfield in 2010, which reformed the city pension system for newly-hired public safety employees. Continuing those efforts at the county level, Zack and the Board of Supervisors successfully negotiated for comprehensive pension and healthcare contribution reform with county unions in 2012. Zack is a member of the Rotary Club of Tehachapi, and was a founding board member of the Wounded Heroes Fund of Kern County (2006-2019), a non-profit volunteer organization that provides support to wounded service members and their families. Zack and his wife, Christina, live in Tehachapi with their four children, Zachary (13), Robert (10), Jane (7) and Jacqueline (5).
Council Member Bob Smith
Council Member Bob Smith, City of Bakersfield– Bob is married to his wonderful wife, Pamela. Bob and his wife have called Bakersfield home for 35 years. Together, they have four grown children. They attend Riverlakes Community Church. As a Councilmember, Bob is dedicated to improving street safety for all residents of Bakersfield. He is particularly passionate about working to reduce traffic accidents and fatalities on our roadways. To this end, Bob pushed through passage of the Bicycle Transportation Plan and the Complete Streets Resolution. Bob continues this work to create a safer and more efficient road system for all road users. As part of his goal to improve the local economy, Bob is committed to attracting individuals and businesses from a quality-of-life perspective. Bob is a strong proponent of finishing our segmented freeway system. The opening of the Westside Parkway has been a great benefit to Ward 4 residents. Bob has and will continue to push freeway projects forward. A good transportation network for freight, automobiles, bicyclists, and pedestrians is essential to a vibrant economy. Bob is also dedicated to restoring water in the river. As one of three Councilmembers who comprise the Water Board, Bob continues to direct staff to use all methods possible to achieve this goal. The continuing drought and the recent state legislation requiring groundwater management make it even more apparent that the plan to restore water in the river for groundwater recharge is necessary for the long-term sustainability of our water resources. Bob is focused on staying attentive to the specific needs of Ward 4 residents while also maintaining a greater vision for the community as a whole. Bob is proud to be a part of the redevelopment of downtown Bakersfield and to work with groups such as Bakersfield Young Professionals and Keep Bakersfield Beautiful on additional quality-of-life improvements.
KINGS COUNTY REPRESENTATIVES
Supervisor Doug Verboon
Supervisor Doug Verboon, Kings County District #3 – Doug Verboon is a lifelong resident of Kings County and a 3rd generation farmer of Gold Top Ranch located in Hanford, California. Supervisor Verboon began his farming career alongside his grandfather and father and since 2005, has been involved with commercial property management. Before serving as a Kings County Board of Supervisor, he was a trustee of the Pioneer School District for 16 years, and was instrumental in helping Pioneer become the first charter school district in the State of California. Supervisor Verboon is a member of Kings County Farm Bureau, District Advisory Council for Sequoia Walnut, and Future Leaders Board for Diamond Walnuts among other organizations. He enjoys spending time with his wife and four adult children when not restoring and painting classic cars..
Mayor Alvaro Preciado
Mayor Alvaro Preciado, City of Avenal
MADERA COUNTY REPRESENTATIVES
Supervisor Robert Poythress (Chair)
Supervisor Robert Poythress, Madera County District #3 – Robert is a native Maderan who graduated from Madera High School in 1974. After high school, he attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California and in 1978 graduated with a Bachelor of Science (BS) Degree in Agricultural Business Management; and in 1998 he earned his graduate degree from Pacific Coast Banking School, University of Washington. Robert has been in the banking industry since 1979. He is currently Vice President and Manager of Citizens Business Bank in Madera, California where he has been for 4 years. He is also a partner in Teco Hardware and Poythress Farms.
Supervisor Brett Frazier
Supervisor Brett Frazier, Madera County District #1 – Brett Frazier resides in the Madera ranchos area of the county. He graduated in 2002 from UC Santa Barbara. He has held a wide variety of public service duties such as being Mayor of Madera, Madera City Council member, Chair of the Madera Housing Authority, Chair of the Madera Redevelopment Agency, and Vice Chair of the Madera County Transportation Commission. Mr. Frazier boast a reputation of being able to bring people together and find common sense solutions to socioeconomic challenges faced by the county of Madera.
MERCED COUNTY REPRESENTATIVES
Supervisor Daron McDaniel
Supervisor Daron McDaniel, Merced County District #3 – Daron McDaniel currently serves as Merced County Supervisor for District 3. He moved to Merced County 33 years ago when his father was a part of the management team that opened Merced Color Press. He graduated from Merced High School before going on to attend Merced College and California State University, Stanislaus. While raising their family in Atwater, Director McDaniel and his wife Buffy started a charitable foundation that has supported athletic programs throughout the region. The McDaniel’s believe deeply in giving back to their community and most recently supported the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Celebration at the Bloss House in Atwater. In addition to running his small business, Director McDaniel has also served on the Peggy Heller and McSwain School Site Councils and as a District Representative for Congressman Jeff Denham. He continues to utilize his broad network of partners and contacts at the state and federal levels to better serve Merced County.
SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY REPRESENTATIVES
Supervisor Chuck Winn
Supervisor Chuck Winn, San Joaquin County – Chuck was born in the Central Valley town of Oildale near Bakersfield in 1945. He attended local schools and Bakersfield College until entering the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 1965.
In 2002, Chuck was elected to the Ripon City Council. During his three terms, he has served four years as a councilmember, five years as mayor and three years as vice-mayor. Before his election to the Board of Supervisors, he was the Mayor of Ripon which concluded his third term in that position.
In addition to his position on the city council, Chuck has served as Ripon’s representative on the San Joaquin County Council of Governments since 2005. He has served as the Chair and Vice-Chair on the COG board. Also, he represented San Joaquin County on the San Joaquin Valley Regional Policy Council that includes the eight counties in the Central Valley from Kern to San Joaquin County. In 2014, he returned to the San Joaquin Partnership as a board member to represent Ripon. In addition to his public service, Chuck has been teaching criminal justice classes in private colleges since his retirement from the CHP in 2005.
Since Chuck’s election to the Board of Supervisors, he has been assigned to the Agricultural Advisory Board, Delta Protection Commission, Advisory Water Commission, Board Water Committee, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Board, Local Agency Formation Commission, Integrated Waste Management Plan Task Force, American River Authority, Eastern San Joaquin County Groundwater Basin Authority, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy, Aviation Advisory Committee, Bay Area Regional Airport Planning Committee, National Association of Counties. Community Economic Development Action Committee, Joint City/County Criminal Justice Task Force, and the SJC Head Start Grantee Policy Council.
In 1970, Chuck married Karon. After living in the Los Angeles and Sacramento areas, they moved to Ripon in 1993, because of the quality of life in the Central Valley and the values it exemplifies. They have three children who are all married with their own families and enjoy their 12 grandchildren.
Vice-Mayor Dan Wright
Vice-Mayor Dan Wright, City of Stockton – Dan Wright has been a resident of Stockton since 1993 and Council District 2 since 1999. Prior to moving to Stockton, he lived and worked in southern California, Texas, Central America, and Wisconsin. Wright and his wife, Grace, have been married for over 30 years and have two children.
Vice Mayor Wright holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a Master of Arts from California State University, Los Angeles. In addition, he completed an administrative credential and doctoral coursework at the University of the Pacific.
Wright was also the Acting Superintendent for Stockton Unified School District and served as the Assistant Superintendent and Director. He has been a member of the steering committee for the Read to Me, Stockton early literacy initiative since it began in 2011
STANISLAUS COUNTY REPRESENTATIVES
Supervisor Vito Chiesa
Supervisor Vito Chiesa, Stanislaus County District #2 – Vito Chiesa is a lifelong resident of Hughson. He graduated from Hughson High School, attended Modesto Junior College then went on to graduate from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture. He works in a family farming operation where in addition to growing walnuts, almonds and peaches, the family operates a commercial walnut hulling and drying business. Elected to the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors in 2008, Supervisor Chiesa has served as president of the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) and currently is a Member of the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley. He has been a member of the Stanislaus Council of Governments (StanCOG Policy Board since 2008 where he has served as Chairman, Vice-Chairman and as a member of the Executive Committee. He is also the StanCOG representative on the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA) Board and on the California Association of Councils of Governments (CalCOG) Board of Directors.
Council Member Rosa Escutia-Braaton
Council Member Rosa Escutia-Braaton, City of Modesto District #1– Rosa Escutia-Braaton was elected Councilmember for District 1 in 2020 and vice-mayor in March 2021. She represents the interests of more than 200,000 residents of Modesto, advocating for increased economic growth, cleaner streets, and safer neighborhoods.
Prior to her election, Councilmember Escutia-Braaton was appointed to Modesto’s Cultural Commission in 2013 and the Planning Commission in 2014, where she served for seven years as a strong advocate for fiscal responsibility and smart growth. Additionally, she worked in the public and private sectors for over 25-years in executive positions, including serving as a Gubernatorial Appointee under Governors Davis and Schwarzenegger as Director of Pubic Relations for the California State Lottery and the Director of Communications for the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.
Beyond her professional experience, Councilmember Escutia-Braaton has a deep commitment to service and has been involved in multiple non-profit and community organizations such as the Stanislaus Latino Community Roundtable, the Stanislaus Medical Society Alliance, the American Leadership Forum, among many others.
Councilmember Escutia-Braaton has a Bachelors of Arts degree from California State University Sacramento. Her husband is a local orthopedic surgeon and together they are raising their two children.
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY AIR POLLUTION CONTROL DISTRICT REPRESENTATIVE
Samir Sheikh, Executive Director and Air Pollution Control Officer – Mr. Sheikh has nearly 20 years of experience in directing, developing, applying and administering air quality improvement programs. Mr. Sheikh leads the largest air district in the state of California with some of the toughest air quality challenges in the nation. Serving a region facing a variety of economic and public health challenges, Mr. Sheikh has led the development and implementation of some of the toughest and most innovative air pollution control strategies in the nation while working cooperatively with the regulated community to reduce administrative costs and achieve environmental and economic balance. Mr. Sheikh has worked with a wide range of stakeholders to form a variety of successful coalitions to bring significant resources to the Valley for incentive-based emission reduction programs. Through these efforts, the San Joaquin Valley now has access to over $300 million per year in local, state and federal funds for clean air projects that expedite air quality improvement. To date, Mr. Sheikh has overseen the expenditure of over $1 billion in public/private investment in the San Joaquin Valley’s clean air efforts through voluntary programs. With a staff of over 300 air quality professionals, Mr. Sheikh has made employees’ welfare and wellbeing a top priority and has instituted a number of programs to motivate and empower employees, while focusing on providing excellent customer service to the general public and the regulated community.
SAN JOAQUIN JOINT POWERS AUTHORITY
Stacey Mortensen, Executive Director, San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority – Stacey Mortensen has worked in San Joaquin County since 1991 in Transportation Engineering and Passenger Rail Service. Ms. Mortensen is the founding Executive Director for the start-up of the Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) Rail Service which began in 1998. Ms. Mortensen also serves as the Executive Director for the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA) where she and her team manage the San Joaquin Intercity Rail Service (San Joaquins) which runs from Bakersfield to Sacramento and Oakland. Ms. Mortensen was appointed to the CA High Speed Rail Peer Review Group in 2012 and is working to ensure that San Joaquin County and the Broader Central Valley’s issues are addressed in the development of the statewide high speed rail system. Ms. Mortensen has worked over the years to formalize interregional coalitions to increase local involvement and feedback in the larger rail picture.
In addition to the ACE service, Ms. Mortensen has overseen some landmark projects in Stockton, including the $85M locomotive and railcar maintenance facility. In 2018, Ms. Mortensen’s team received over $900M in State funding for the Valley Rail Program which will expand the ACE and San Joaquins to Sacramento and further south in the Central Valley within the next 3 years.