All this week, as part of our ongoing Decision 2012 coverage, we're taking a look at the five candidates running in contested races for Bakersfield City Council in Wards 2 and 4.
We begin in Ward 2 with a challenger who knows all about personal challenges.
He is David Mensch, 52 years old, an assistive technology technician with the Kern Assistive Technology Center.
Mensch is divorced with one child.
He has no prior government experience, but does hold a seat on the In-Home Support Services Advisory Committee.
Born with cerebral palsy, Mensch is no stranger to personal challenges and overcoming them. He recently rode his wheelchair from Bakersfield to Sacramento, along with his son, to raise awareness about budget cuts to in-home support service programs for the severely disabled citizens of California.
His speech is impaired due to his disability and he uses a special computer program to answer our questions about his candidacy for the City Council's 2nd Ward.
"This city needs a person who is understanding, passionate for what they do, and will listen to the people that we serve and try to work for the city and the people," said Mensch on why he's running.
"I would listen to the people of the 2nd Ward ,and I would try to find solutions that would hopefully make everyone happy. I know that will not always be possible, but I will try my hardest. We all need to work together and if I can pull people and counties together by doing David and Zach's Quest to Sac, I think that I can get the people and the city of Bakersfield to work together also," said Mensch when asked what makes him a good candidate.
Mensch talked about his priorities, if elected. "I have a couple of things that I want to make a priority. First is safety. We need to find more money for our police and fire departments and get more police officers out on the streets and firefighters too. I would like to see more growth downtown and around Bakersfield. And, lastly I want to see the city contract with local businesses here. You know that city government, like any government office, wastes so much money, that if we contract these jobs out to others it would save the city money and help the local economy."
You can find out more about his campaign by checking him out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/davidmensch
Tuesday night, we'll hear from Ward 2 candidate Elliott Kirschenmann.