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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Tomeka Powell, a candidate for the Ward 1 seat on the Bakersfield City Council, emphasized her community involvement and experience Thursday on "First Look with Scott Cox."
The 30-year-old candidate highlighted her participation in community groups and efforts, including East Bakersfield United for Peace; Greenfield Walking Group; the Jonah Street community garden; South Kern Building Healthy Communities; and as a neighborhood watch block captain in Tyner Ranch. She also talked about Leadership Bakersfield and the Bakersfield Community Theatre.
The grant writer said she's written about $1 million worth of grants to benefit Ward 1. She has a master's degree in business administration, and a degree in marketing. She said she also has small businesses, plumbing in Bakersfield and farming in Tulsa, Okla.
"I have a lot of experience under my belt." Powell said.
She said the people of Ward 1 deserve a candidate who loves the community and wants to represent everyone.
"When it comes to a leader, the leader does not need to know absolutely everything," Powell said. She said a leader needs to know when to reach out to others for their expertise and knowledge, and she'll do that, tapping people such as former councilmembers from the area.
Powell said she's lived in the community since high school, and owns a home in Tyner Ranch.
She noted "the ward is huge," and not just the one square mile around Martin Luther King Jr. Park. She said the ward is 72 percent Hispanic, culturally diverse, and it needs a councilmember who reaches out to everyone.
Powell mentioned some of the challenges in that area of the city, including blight, unemployment and food instability. While there's no longer redevelopment money, other things can be done to tackle the problems.
The special election to fill the Ward 1 seat is June 4. The seat is open because Rudy Salas left partway through his term for the state Assembly.