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Candidates’ forum gets 2nd round

Candidates for local offices gathered at the Madera County Farm Bureau sales barn Tuesday evening to give voters one more chance to decide how they are going to vote in the upcoming June election.

Farm Bureau Executive Director Christina Beckstead once again moderated the event as 12 aspirants for political offices turned out to unveil their reasons for running.

These included Board of Supervisors, District 1 candidates Michelle Stephens, Jordan Wamhoff, and Andy Wheeler; Board of Supervisors, District 2 contenders John Chavez, Tim Farrell, and David Rogers; Board of Supervisors, District 5 hopefuls Robert “Bobby” McCaulay and Mark Reed; Madera County Sheriff candidates Ruben Mendoza and Tyson Pogue; and candidates for County Assessor Brett Frazier and Jorge Torres.

Contenders for Supervisorial District 5, were featured first.

Robert McCaulay, 34, was born and raised in Madera County. He graduated from Yosemite High School in 2004. He has been Supervisor Tom Wheeler’s Chief of Staff since Oct. 2019.

Mark Reed is an Oakhurst resident who began his career in business management when he bought his first company at age 26. He is an unabashed advocate of forming “connections” to “make things happen.”

Next came Brett Frazier and Jorge Torres, candidates for County Assessor.

Frazier was raised in Madera. In 2010 he was elected to the Madera City Council, serving as Mayor in 2012. In January 2015, he was elected to the Board of Supervisors from District 1. Frazier has been a local business owner for 16 years.

Jorge Torres is a certified licensed real property tax appraiser with 9 years of experience in that field. Currently he works full-time in the Madera County assessor’s office where he reviews and determines the fair and equitable property values.

Following the assessor hopefuls, candidates to represent Supervisorial District 2, John Chavez, David Rogers, and Tim Farrell took the microphone.

Chavez is a 14-year city council member and current mayor of the City of Chowchilla. He was named the Chowchilla Chamber’s Citizen of the Year in 2005.

Rogers is a business owner who has represented District 2 on the Board of Supervisors for 12 years. He has also served two terms as Chowchilla city councilman, Mayor and Mayor pro tem.

Tim Farrell was born and raised in Madera County. He has experience in both the public and private sectors. Currently he works as a realtor with London Properties in Chowchilla and Madera and serves as a director for the Madera County Association of Realtors.

Candidates in the race for Supervisorial District 1, Michelle Stephens, Jordan Wamhoff, and Andy Wheeler were heard next.

Stephens is a licensed real estate professional at Twiss Realty. As an experienced real estate professional, Michele says she has extensive knowledge of limited resources such as water, roads, and prime agriculture.

Wamhoff is a police officer who resides in the Madera Ranchos. As a career police officer he has worked many difficult assignments to keep local communities safe. Along with his service in law enforcement, he is a small businessman in the construction and solar industry.

Andy Wheeler is a 24-year resident of the Ranchos. area. He has had a career as a licensed financial advisor and has been a trustee on the Golden Valley Unified School Board, serving the past two years as the president.

Tuesday’s forum concluded with statements from Ruben Mendoza and Tyson Pogue, candidates for Madera County sheriff.

After working for the Glendora Police Department and the California Department of Corrections, Mendoza accepted a police officer position with the Chowchilla Police Department and remained there for 20 years. He is currently with the Merced County Public Defender’s Office. In 2016, he ran for a seat on the Madera Unified School Board. He is in his second term.

Pogue is a lifelong resident of Madera County and has served in the Madera County Sheriff’s Office since 2001. He worked his way through the ranks of deputy, detective, sergeant, lieutenant, commander and undersheriff before ultimately being appointed the 16th Sheriff of Madera County nearly two years ago. He graduated from the prestigious Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy in June 2019.

The voters will decide, not only these races, but statewide offices as well, in a consolidated direct primary election on Tuesday, June 7, 2022.


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