Another round of membership shake-up could be in store for the Kings County Board of Supervisors come 2024.
The panel, which saw longtime Supervisor Craig Pedersen retire and incumbent Joe Neves fend off a challenger backed by a well-financed water maven, could see its oldest member – Richard Fagundes – replaced with a young gun.
Driving the news: Tyler Pepe, a Hanford small businessman, launched his candidacy for Kings County’s Fifth Supervisorial District on Tuesday.
- Pepe, whose family owns and operates welding supplier Valley Oxygen, is a lifelong Kings County native and graduate of Hanford High School. He noted that he’s worked in the family business the majority of his life, joining the business full-time after departing Hanford High.
- Pepe, a husband and father of two (with a third due in 2023), made his first foray into local politics as a member of Kings County’s robust Republican Party Central Committee.
- The kickoff comes amid an open question regarding whether Richard Fagundes, a 15-year veteran of the Board of Supervisors, will seek a fifth term on the board. He is 81 years old.
What he’s saying: Pepe said he’d been mulling serving the community for a few years, noting that Kings County needs a generational hand-off to build off of its successes while bringing in fresh perspective.
- “I told myself, it’s time to start getting involved a little bit more and keep the county moving in the right direction,” Pepe told The Sun in an interview.
- In an interview, Pepe said his top priority for the farming-dominant south Valley county is securing water supplies.
- “Water is a precious resource and there’s a shortage of it around here. It starts at the county level. Obviously, while there’s a lot of state input, we can do a lot at the county to preserve as much water as we can. We’ve got to have enough water for our farmers, ranchers, and dairymen and the military – especially with Lemoore Naval Air Station being a big anchor for our community.”