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Concerned voters host a Fourth District Town Hall in Delano

Kern County's newly-redrawn 4th district prepares to elect a supervisor

Delano, Calif. - Wednesday night was the first of at least four community meetings referred to as "Fourth District Town Halls." Organizers say - for the growing number of democratic voters in the district - this is their chance to finally get the representation they've been wanting. But some also say, they feel like they're already losing their voice. 

Several weeks ago, Delano Mayor Grace Vallejo was selected by a self-appointed nominating committee to take on District 4 Supervisor David Couch in November.

"It wasn't open. It was exclusive. When I read in the paper I was shocked," said Esther H. Manzano, a Delano community activist, at Wednesday night's meeting. 

It's clear, not everyone feels included in the decision or the process used to put Vallejo in the race. 

"The people from these communities really didn't have a say it was not done in a democratic way. It could have been done in a more democratic way. They should have gotten more of the community involved. There's enough people here that want to have some input," Manzano said.

And it's true - a lot of people in this district have a lot to say about who should fill the seat and what they should do once he or she is elected. 

"We want to elect an official that is going to represent our communities. Our rural communities," said Gary Rodriguez, a Shafter community volunteer and a plaintiff in the MALDEF case that started this whole process.

So in order to become a united front, "CLAD-K," or Community Leadership Alliance for Democracy-Kern, hosted the first Fourth District Town Hall in Delano Wednesday. Not to choose an alternative to Vallejo - but to organize the community about what they want, and what they expect from their supervisor come November. 

"I am expecting that the candidate who is going to be supported once filing time is due, is going to take this information and work for the communities. That's what I am expecting and that's the type of candidate I will support," Rodriguez said. 

The next town hall is set to take place June 6 in Shafter. Organizers say at least two others in addition to that June 6 town hall will take place before they bring the candidates together to hear the community's most pressing concerns going into November's election. 

17 news is your local election headquarters, so come June 6 we'll be there to continue following this story. 

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