Gleason takes oath in IWV ceremony

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Gleason takes oath in IWV ceremonyFollowing Mick Gleason’s official inauguration as Kern County 1st District Supervisor in a Jan. 3 ceremony in Bakersfield, where he was sworn in by state Sen. Jean Fuller, Gleason retook the oath of office in front of a standing-room-only crowd of community leaders and other supporters on Jan. 4 at the Historic USO Building. Assembly-woman Shannon Grove was on hand to officiate.

Gleason thanked his supporters, reaffirmed the goals he outlined on the campaign trail and introduced his new staff.

He has named Leann Cook as his chief of staff. The former Ridgecrest resident has been living and working in Bakersfield for years and formerly performed the same role for another Kern supervisor.

Denny Kline, a longtime Ridgecrest resident, will be Gleason’s field representative in the IWV. Kline has worked as a communications specialist and was the public affairs officer at China Lake before his retirement.

Pat Connell will serve the Kern River Valley as field rep, and Dave Freeland — who faced Gleason in the primary — will serve the western edge of the district in Shafter, Delano and McFarland.

Gleason said he is committed to “aggressively representing” his district, ensuring that their issues are heard and acted upon. He said it is vitally important to maintain a voice on the board from the rural communities in the 1st District.

He also gave thanks to the IWV voters, who he credited as his core supporters.

Although Gleason solidly led his opponent 58 percent to 41 percent across the district, his support among the Ridgecrest voters was 74 percent.

Since retiring in 2008 as commanding officer of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Gleason made his home in Ridgecrest with his wife, Robynn. They were soon followed by their grown sons, Wesley, Patrick and Jeffrey.

Gleason then accepted a part-time job as manager of the local General Dynamics office and reinvigorated community support of the Navy mission at China Lake by becoming the executive director of the China Lake Alliance.

Gleason said that among his goals are bringing the East Kern perspective to the board, protecting China Lake interests, guarding against regulation that inhibits growth or does not make sense and ensuring that the county delivers a quality level of service to its residents.

He closed his address by committing to crush methamphetamine abuse in Kern County.

“This plan is not necessarily going to be a government program,” said Gleason. “This is a community problem, and we need a community solution where we inspire, motivate and lead organizations — schools, churches, businesses, parents and everyone else involved — in understanding the dangers of meth use and the adverse effect it has on our children and families.”

He said that the first step would be bringing together stakeholders and assigning specific tasks to public education, outreach and prevention.

Gleason’s first official day was Monday, and he said that the board voted Mike Maggard of Bakersfield as chair and Zack Scrivner of Tehachapi as vice chair. Although committee assignments had not formally been made by press time, he said he knew he would be working with on the East Kern Air Pollution Control District, among others, “and any BRAC-related assignments will be delegated to me.”

Local office hours will be announced later in the week, he said.

“I know there are a lot of challenges with the job, but I am looking forward to representing you.”

Story First Published: 2013-01-09