Politics & Government

From high school dropout to Merced County candidate? District 2 gets a third candidate

Another challenger has announced intent to run for the District 2 seat of the Merced County Board of Supervisors.

The Rev. Angel Barragan said he’s ramping up a run for the district that covers the bulk of the city of Merced. As well as being a part-time pastor at Spanish-speaking Yosemite Church Latino for seven years, he’s been the dean of students at Stoneridge Christian School for almost two years.

“I consider myself a people person. I consider myself someone who can work with anybody,” the 39-year-old said. “Despite having differences or difficulties and not agreeing on everything, it’s imperative to work together.

“I believe I have a set of values that are proven and I want to take that and use that on the Merced County Board of Supervisors,” he continued.

Incumbent Supervisor Lee Lor has already drawn one challenger in Josh Pedrozo, a Merced High School teacher who served two terms on the Merced City Council.

Barragan said his priorities are the same as many residents -- addressing homelessness, public safety and economic development. He said he supports the county’s plan for ending homelessness, which includes a navigation center and several shelters.

“I believe in our Sheriff’s Department and all first responders,” he said. “I want all first responders to know, and our citizens to know, that public safety is a priority. It’s our No. 1 priority to provide for all first responders to allow them to be present in times of need.”

The son of migrant workers, Barragan attended Livingston High and Le Grand High until he dropped out in 1999 as a junior and began working odd jobs and construction, he said, which included work on north Merced homes and UC Merced. At times, he was homeless.

Then at 23, following a serious back injury, he went back to school.

Barragan said he did his religious training in Modesto before moving on to Merced College, and he ultimately graduated from UC Merced in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. His story was featured that year in a UC Merced-produced video.

“I believe I’m a product of our county. I believe that, since I was young, my story is a story of victory, a story of overcoming, a story of being able to accomplish great things,” he said. “Now, in my position, I believe there’s many others in our community that can do the same thing.”

The challenger for the District 2 seat is new to politics, having never run for office. He said he’s served on several nonprofit boards and has demonstrated management skills as a pastor and educator.

“Despite not necessarily being involved in public politics, I do consider myself having experience in leadership,” he said.

Lor was first elected the board in 2016, an election that brought some diversity to an all-white board of supervisors.

Pedrozo ran an unsuccessful election in 2016 for the Merced mayor’s seat. He’s also the son of former Supervisor John Pedrozo, who lost a re-election effort in 2016 to current District 1 Supervisor Rodrigo Espinoza.