Peters announces candidacy

Race for supervisor begins to take shape

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Peters announces candidacyAt press time, Kern County Elections Division reported the one candidate has pulled papers for the seat of Kern County 1st District Supervisor.

Phillip Peters, who held a launch party for his campaign in Bakersfield Tuesday evening, announced his intent to run at the Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce luncheon that afternoon.

“Most of you know, Robynn and I have decided recently not to seek reelection,” said Mick Gleason during his introductory remarks. He mentioned that his wife has supported his career during his eight years as supervisor as well as his lengthy military service, which saw him retire as commanding officer of the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake.

“It’s time to turn the tables and for Mick to support Robynn.” he said.

However, he noted, it is difficult for a politician to walk away from his career. “One of the things that made this decision OK for me and Robynn is we know we have a succession plan.”

Gleason said that he needed to know someone would carry the torch after he stepped down.

“The heart and soul of Kern County is in East Kern,” he said. “I can go through the economics and politics, but it would bore you to tears. Where we are, today, is the future of Kern County.”

He then introduced Peters, who has worked as Gleason’s district director since 2015.

“The reason I wanted to come over here is Mick said that Ridgecrest is the heart and soul of the 1st District,” said Peters. “No amount of redistricting can change that. Ridgecrest is a priority for me and will remain a priority.”

He added that even though his candidacy was “the worst-kept secret,” he wanted to make his formal announcement in Ridgecrest first. He said that Gleason has accomplished a lot of good work during his two terms.

“We are going to keep getting the ball down the field and doing good things for Ridgecrest and Kern County.”

Among the attendees were community members who have already endorsed Peters — including Mayor Peggy Breeden, China Lake Alliance Director David Janiec and IWV Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Scott O’Neil.

Peters has also garnered support from high-ranking Kern County elected officials, including House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, State Sen. Shannon Grove, Assemblyman Vince Fong and Sheriff Donny Youngblood.

While Peters is currently the only candidate who has formalized his bid for the office, other contenders have been expressing an interest, in both traditional and social media, in the seat.

Former county department head Dick Taylor, who had originally shared with the News Review his intent to seek election, said that despite being urged by many community leaders and friends, he would not be pulling papers.

“I consider it a great honor to be approached to run for this office,” he said. “However, after a lot of thought and research, I have decided not to seek election.

“My hope is that a candidate arises to represent this incredible district who possesses the necessary experience, character, trustworthiness, maturity and statesmanship befitting the highest leadership position in the county.”

When former Supervisor Jon McQuiston stepped down in 2012, the ensuing election drew eight candidates — including two from Ridgecrest.

Following a court-ordered redistricting in 2018 to accommodate a second Latino-majority district in the county, Ridgecrest lost its status in the 1st District as the center of high-propensity voters.

The 1st District landscape may change again to rebalance population of the five county districts following the results of the 2020 census.

Pictured: Phillip Peters, center, appears with State Sen. Shannon Grove and Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood at the Veterans Day parade in Bakersfield. — Courtesy photo

Story First Published: 2019-11-15