Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Friends, family, supporters and mentors applaud for Madera City Councilwoman Cece Gallegos, center in stripes, during a Campaign Kick Off fundraiser at Peters Brothers Barrel Room.
Madera City Councilwoman CeCe Gallegos, District 1, is seeking a second term, of four years, in the belief that in her first term, of two years, she learned a lot about the city and its citizenry, and learned what it takes to be an effective council member.
About 80 people packed the event rooms at Peters’ Brothers Hall on Granada Drive when she opened her campaign last month.
Gallegos, a teacher for 27 years and a life-long Madera resident said she felt it was her responsibility to step in after the district seat became open in 2016, when she was appointed to take over a position that became vacant when then-mayor Rob Poythress resigned to fill a spot on the Madera County Board of Supervisors, to which he was elected that year.
“The last two years have been a challenge and a learning curve,” Gallegos said. “Now I am up (for re election) for the next four-year (term). What have I been doing?”
She said her first term had been a crash course in how the city runs.
“When you open your faucets and you have clean water coming out, it’s because we have improved and increased our water system (capacity). The second thing is the wastewater treatment plant. Whoa, was that a mess ... I’ve been working on that and now we are fully staffed. Bless those gentlemen that are out there working on it, as it’s one of the most important things in our city.” she said.
“The Quimby Act is in now in place, where, when developers come in, they give us lands so we can build parks. As you know we don’t have enough parks here in the City of Madera. I’m a Parks Rec gal, that’s how I grew up. More green spaces so the kids can get off the phones and tablets, and go out and play.”
She praised the voters for passing the city’s law enforcement sales tax, Measure K, which beefed up public-safety efforts.
“Measure K was thanks to all of you here. That half cent sales tax that put 12 officers on the ground, I want to thank all of you for doing that. We are also building a new fire station in District 1, and I got to be a part of that. It’s beautiful. We have the land purchased, the plans drawn up and we are hoping to have it completed in December of 2019,” Gallegos said.
Neighborhood watch and National Night Out has also been a great council success, according to Gallegos.
“These watch captains have stepped up in our neighborhoods and helped take back our streets. It’s not easy. They are now the eyes and ears for our Council members ...”
“Why I am I getting involved? It all stemmed from my family and parents,” Gallegos said. “They brought me up and instilled my values and integrity to make the right decisions as a council woman. I also had mentors like Larry Hibdon (former director of Madera Parks and Community Services) who guided me through those youth programs and leadership adventures.”
Gallegos also credited the mentorship of Jim Taubert, retired executive director of the former Madera Redevelopment Agency for taking the time to help her navigate the complex departments, budgets and relationships. “Jim was one that stood by me and asked what I needed. Infrastructure like water and sewer, boy do I know piping,” she said with a laugh. “This gentleman (Taubert) always made the time. He knows the city inside and out. When I had questions he could always give me the answers.”
“Residents were right to come before the council and demand change in their city and that we reduce the spending on salaries. I hope the residents keep coming and don’t lose that momentum. The city council is responsible for the (appropriate) spending of taxpayer dollars. The new city manager should also be fiscally responsible, involved in the community and up to the challenges of bringing in new development and new housing.”
Gallegos said she felt Madera was still undiscovered and a hidden secret as the city is only two hours from the beach or the scenic wonders of Yosemite.
“My new vision for Madera is that we need to unite together going forward.” Gallegos said. “I feel I’m the right person, at the right time for the job. I fight hard, and I am trying to do the best I can ... but I can’t do it without each and every one of you. I need you to step up and make your voices heard. I can’t do it without you. I’m one of seven council members. And we are selling Madera short when we are not letting people know about Madera. We have a lot to do, but a lot offer. I love it, and am not going anywhere.”
For more information, on Facebook go to: Committee to Elect CeCe Gallegos City Council District 1.