Richard Cervantes says his campaign for Merced City Council is going to start where the last one left off -- with a focus on business and jobs. When he ran in 2009, Cervantes was just 93 votes short of winning a council seat, so he thinks he can build momentum with his second wind.
"I definitely wanted to dust my knees off and make a run for it again," he said. "Merced hasn't changed. There have been very few strides by the current council to make changes with the way we do business. We're still in dire need of a new plan."
Cervantes, 29, is no stranger to local issues. He's been a member of the Merced Planning Commission for four years and helped oversee development of the city's 2030 general plan and plans for the Wal-Mart distribution center. Even so, he said the city has trouble when it comes to working with businesses.
"We still don't understand that business is not an enemy. Business is a necessary tool for a community to thrive and grow. We can cut as much as we want to -- in fact, it's always a good practice -- but the only way to significantly raise revenues isn't just to raise taxes but to grow through business."
Born and raised in Merced, Cervantes is a welding supervisor and lives with his wife Kelly and their two pre-teen daughters.
Correction: An earlier version of this blog post mistakenly said Cervantes was on the planning commission for six years instead of four.