KLEA withdraws Fleeman endorsement

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

The Kern Law Enforcement Association voted last Friday to withdraw their endorsement of Justin Fleeman, who is facing Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood on the June Primary ballot.

A reported 274 of more than 500 members — representing deputy sheriffs and district attorney investigators — cast ballots, with 64.9 percent in favor of the repeal.

In previous interviews with the News Review, KLEA President David Kessler acknowledged that members began circulating a petition to change their position from an endorsement of Fleeman to neutral.

Although Kessler refrained from providing a reason for the second vote, other members of KLEA commented off the record that they were disappointed in Fleeman’s attacks on the Sheriff’s Office, attacks that purportedly damaged the reputation of all those in uniform.

“As a member-driven organization, we listen to our members when they speak out — particularly in such large numbers,” reads a prepared statement by Kessler.

“Kern County deputies are the lowest paid in the entire Central Valley, and we’re losing personnel at an alarming rate. That is the problem we should all be focused on solving. The election for Kern County Sheriff is an important one, and we encourage all voters to carefully vet the candidates before casting their ballots.

“We greatly appreciate this community’s support for our officers and will continue to proudly serve our neighbors, friends and families here in Kern County.”

Story First Published: 2018-05-25