By Chris Frost
Oxnard--The race for Ventura County Supervisor kicked off, March 6, as Oxnard Mayor Pro Tem Carmen Ramirez Announced her candidacy at the Ventura County Justice Center with well-wishers ready to start her campaign off right.
The event had a great feel, as the rainstorms cleared in time to announce her bid in the courtyard.
Ramirez is running for the District Five seat held by Supervisor John Zaragoza who reached his term limit.
Ramirez told the large crowd that she was not nervous, at all.
“I am with friends, supporters and it’s been a journey,” she said. “I want to thank the Gods for the brief break in the storm. We need the rain, it’s a little scary sometimes living in evacuated burn areas, and that is one of the things we will deal with.”
She directed the photographers to her great supporters.
“I grew up in San Gabriel Valley, and I had the benefit of a great public education when things were a little different in California,“ she said. “I am one of seven siblings, and my father was a World War II veteran.”
She’s been a lawyer for 40 years and said it’s a great career for her.
“Many of you met me when I first came to Oxnard as a legal aid attorney,” she said. “That’s where I defined my values and was able to represent people, my family who had troubles with the government, employers with business and health care providers. It is my great privilege to be a lawyer in the State of California.”
After 20 years she moved on to the superior court and got to work in the Colonia.
“Some of you don’t know the Colonia, I know it, and it was like going back home,” she said. “I provided information to mostly Spanish speaking residents who were afraid to come here and didn’t know what their rights were.”
In 2006, she learned about the largest mining company in the world that puts a bullseye on Oxnard and said they were going to put a dangerous project in the Santa Barbara Channel.
“The people of Oxnard are too busy working and don’t have any political power,” she said.
Ramirez told the mining company no, and it was a struggle.
“Some of you were there, and we got 2,000 people to come to a state lands commission and say don’t do this to our community, even when they had the support of our friends in the chamber, the governor
supported it, and a lot of people bought into it because, they thought there was going to be three or four jobs,” she said.
That made her question the leadership in the government, and she decided to become involved.
“I ran for city council, and I didn’t win the first time, but I won the second time and have been there since 2010,” she said. “I am still there, and I am going to be there no matter what happens for another two years.”
Ramirez announced to the crowd that Supervisor John Zaragoza endorsed her, which drew large applause.
During her time on council, she’s dealt with financial challenges and said the city has to deal with it sustainably.
“Oxnard’s credit rating has gone up because of the difficult things we did, but we did it, and we are on the road to sustainability,” she said.
Looking forward, Ramirez said Ventura County would need to make hard choices because of the fires and the shooting at Borderline.
“Bad things have happened, but I want to be a part of the solution in Ventura County,” she said.
The county needs to move forward with climate change, which she says is here.
“We saw it last year,” she said. “It takes a lot of resources, we have to plan for it, and we still have to plan for the big one (earthquake) because it’s coming.”
She wants a fair shake for his district, not just greater Oxnard, but other parts of the city, but the unincorporated parts of Ventura County, the beach, Nyland Acres, and El Rio.
We need to make sure our public safety system, both fire, and police are secure and have the resources and training to keep us safe,” she said. “They’ve been doing an admirable job, and like everything, resources are important for these public agencies. Public agencies are always number one.”
Ramirez pledged that she would make decisions based on people’s health and the health of the future and the children.
“We’re a unique county,” she said. “I’m on the Southern California Association of Governments, and I’ll tell you, a lot of people are jealous of us because we live here. We want to keep it that way and do better, but at the same time, provided the economic resources so people can thrive and not turn to negative things like crime and all of the other things that come with not having a good education.”
Ramirez pledges to run a clean campaign and rise above the mudslinging currently underway on the political landscape.
“You have to lead by example and not engage in that kind of conduct,” she said. “It’s tearing our country apart. I don’t engage in that. I want to listen to everybody’s opinions.”
John Brooks has known Ramirez since 1975 and said she is a champion for the people.
“She gets the job done,” he said. “She’s smart; she’s an attorney and is a worker, not a pontificator.”
Irma Lopez said her husband had known Lopez since the early 1980s when she came to Oxnard as an attorney for legal aid.
“I have known Carmen longer than I have known my husband,” she said. “I have kept in touch with her over the years because we have been on the same page with most issues that have come before Oxnard. This effort is no exception. She has my heartiest endorsement for not only herself, but she has my wife Irma and my daughter Tiffany’s support.”
Steve Nash said he is sad that Oxnard is losing Ramirez and has a little bit of trepidation about who will fill her vacuum.
“I anticipate that Carmen will win in a landslide and she’ll bring much-needed environmental advocacy than we have now to the county board of supervisors, and I hope there will be an open line of communication between the board and the City of Oxnard.”
He has no plans to run for the Oxnard City Council.
“You have to be a little bit of an insane egomaniac to seek office,” he said. “I am not that crazy.”
For information about Carmen Ramirez, visit carmen4oxnard.com
451 West Fifth Street
Oxnard, California 93030
1000 Town Center Drive
Oxnard, CA 93036
(Walk-in & Drop-off)
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.