Four of the five candidates running for Bakersfield mayor shared their visions for the city.
INCUMBENT MAYOR KAREN GOH:
Karen Goh has served as Bakersfield’s mayor since 2017. Now, she is running for re-election on March 3rd. The economy, she said, is at the top of her list.
“I’m going to continue to embrace this community and make sure that the hardworking people of this community have jobs,” Goh said. “Let’s work on encouraging job development — both new and expanded businesses for all people.”
In addition to her role as mayor, the Bakersfield High School alumnus serves as the President and CEO of Garden Pathways, a non-profit whose mission it is to mentor disadvantaged children, youth, and adults “to build productive lives.”
As mayor, she says combating homelessness is one of her top priorities.
“Our community has made great strides together in working on some of the challenges of homelessness, but it is together as we work together and work on those root causes where we truly will make a difference.”
She hopes to earn your vote this primary election day.
“Voters have consistently said that Karen Goh is everywhere in all communities addressing what is important in each of our communities. [I am] focusing on economic development, public safety, education, and being an advocate for Bakersfield.”
DR. GREGORY TATUM:
Another candidate, Dr. Gregory Tatum, is pastor at Change Community Church in Downtown Bakersfield.
“What we must do is become a community of God,” Tatum said while teaching his congregation during a Bible study last month. He believes his role as pastor would bring a much-needed perspective to city government.
“A lot of people say, ‘you know, why would a pastor run, what’s the benefit?'” he asked rhetorically. “From a pastor’s perspective, I think I could bring a lot to the table and realize the dream of making all things happen that are possible for those that believe.”
An army veteran, Tatum served our nation during the First Gulf War. He ran for state senate in 2018, but lost to Shannon grove. Now, he wants to represent our city. Empowering the youth is among his top priorities.
“I want to be able to challenge our young people as early as elementary school,” Tatum said. “[I want them to] get involved with space exploration, engineering, gaming, coding, all these things that’s going to take us to the next level.”
If elected, Tatum would become Bakersfield’s first African-American mayor, something he believes is significant.
“It tells the world, it tells this nation that we have evolved as a city. When you become the mayor of Bakersfield, you become the face of Bakersfield. It’s time to change the face of inclusion.”
Mayoral candidate Joseph Caporali identifies as an actor, movie extra, and movie producer.
“I’m running for the people — voice for the people. We’ve never had that in Bakersfield before,” he said during an interview with KGET political reporter Eytan Wallace.
A former cop in Las Vegas, Caporali said he would prioritize law enforcement if elected mayor.
“They put a badge on every morning, they go to work, they don’t know when they’re coming home. My hat’s off to them,” he said. “I salute them every day. I want the younger generation to wave at them and say hi because they are good people. They deserve more pay. I’d [also] like to see the fire department get more pay. They work hard — very hard. I’m very proud of them.”
He says he would be the city’s most active mayor.
“I’m 88 years old, strong as a bull,” he said. “It’s always been ‘vote for me, I’ll do this, I’ll do that,’ and then you never see them again. I haven’t met a mayor yet walking around. I want them to see me and say ‘here comes that guy — the bald guy, the Italian guy. There’s the mayor, what the hell is the mayor doing here?’ That’s my job. They will get tired of seeing me because I’ll be there.”
Mark Hudson is a certified write-in mayoral candidate.
“I see things that needs changing,” the businessman said.
Hudson said he will prioritize the homeless issue because he believes the city is not doing enough.
“Building shelters is not enough,” he said. “There needs to be some kind of rehab.”
If elected, he would bring every issue to the voters before the council can take any action.
“I want everybody to be apart of everything that’s happening. So if a decision comes up, they’ll have to vote on these things,” he said. “I will give my opinion, but they’ll have the final vote on everything that happens in Bakersfield. This is their city and I want to give it back to them,” Hudson continued.
Joey Harrington is another certified write-in candidate in this race. Harrington said Friday he was surprised to learn he qualified, and was not yet ready to discuss his candidacy. The businessman declined KGET’s invitation to appear at Monday’s debate.
KGET LIVE MAYORAL DEBATE:
The debate will air live on KGET at 7 p.m. The first half hour will air on TV and the KGET.com, and the second half-hour will air only on KGET.com. Jim scott and Eytan Wallace will moderate.
WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN:
A candidate will need to receive more than 50% of the vote to win the primary election. If nobody earns more than 50%, the top two vote-getters in the March 3 election will then go head to head during the general election — November 3rd, 2020.