The candidates for Kern County Supervisor district 3 shared their goals for the district with 17 News Friday. Mike Maggard, a three-term Kern County Supervisor, is being challenged by Bakersfield Fire Capt. Jeff Heinle.
The Kern County Supervisorial 3rd district covers areas of East Bakersfield, La Cresta, North-West Bakersfield, and the river communities of Oildale and Rosedale.
“I think the most important thing to know is that I’m a local guy,” said Maggard, a Bakersfield native, and a graduate of Foothill High School, where he played football and met the girl he would eventually marry.
“I have a great deal of experience in both the private sector and the public sector,” he added, noting his experience as a certified public accountant, former city councilman, and city school’s trustee.
“My number one goal is to make sure the public is protected,” Maggard said. “The number one threat to public safety is our fiscal stability. We have a wage and benefit package that is so expensive, that if that is not controlled, our ability to staff fire stations and deputies on the street, will be directly threatened by it.”
Maggard emphasized his focus is on diversifying the economy. He added he wants to continue working on cutting the county’s structural deficit, now approximately $17 million.
“It’s vital that we protect the taxpayers’ treasure to make sure that we can sustain public safety and be financially sound and provide new jobs for people.”
Last January, as a series of attack ads against Maggard started to hit social media, the incumbent asserted that Heinle was recruited to run against him by supervisor Leticia Perez in retaliation for Maggard’s vote in favor of banning the cannabis industry in Kern county. Heinle has flatly denied this charge.
Heinle, a bay area native, came to Bakersfield to play football and study public safety at Bakersfield College. He met his wife there, and began went to work for Hall Ambulance Service before joining the Bakersfield Fire Dept 26 years ago. He currently holds the rank of captain.
“I’ve seen thousands and thousands of tragedies and I’ve seen this community’s hardships intimately,” Heinle said. “I think where this is evolving is me stepping into a political arena”
Heinle, a lover of dogs and a father of three adopted children, said he sees a lack of leadership on the Board of Supervisors.
“I see a need. I see an emergency. I believe that the county is in serious trouble. Public safety, education, jobs – those are all things that make a community prosperous and I just don’t see us on the right track,” Heinle said, noting he hopes to tackle three issues immediately should he be elected.
“The issues that I’m concerned about the most are homelessness, crime, and the deficit. Those are the top three that need to be addressed right away,” he said.
Both candidates said they have a message for voters this Election Day.
“I hope [the voters] see a dedicated firefighter that knows how to mitigate emergencies and knows that I will do everything humanly possible to make this community safer,” Heinle said.
Maggard shared he hopes voters recognize his experiences in politics and the private sector.
“What I want people to see is that I am a combination of both private sector and public sector,” he said. “That’s important because I bring to the table a perspective that is outside of government….I want people to know I bring both perspectives to this: the experience of what it’s like to get things done inside government, but the perspective of what it’s like outside of government.”
Heinle and Maggard will join 17’s Jim Scott for a candidate forum on the Kern county: In Depth weekly public affairs show this weekend. The show will air at 3:30 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 1, on KGET-TV NBC 17.