There will be a contest for the District 2 seat on the Kings County Board of Supervisors. Local resident Debra Kwast has announced her candidacy and will go head-to-head against two-time incumbent Richard Valle.
Kwast’s Corcoran roots go back three generations. Her grandparents settled here and Kwast’s mother was born in Corcoran. Kwast was born in Hanford and has made her home in the community for over 40 years.
She has been in business for about the same length of time. Kwast started with a photography business, Images, that morphed into a storefront photography and video rental operation. Over 20 years ago, she joined with RadioShack to open the local franchise.
A staple on main street, Kwast recently decided to try her hand at politics.
“Like many people, I think government needs to be run by citizen politicians, not by career politicians,” she said.
She hopes to bring experience in the private sector into the government of Kings County.
“In the private sector, we know how to balance budgets; we do not over spend our budgets,” she noted. “We deal with issues in a common sense manner.”
Kwast has a history of community involvement. She was community leader for the local 4-H program for many years, and also was chair for several of the organization’s projects. She was a member of the Cotton Heirs, which benefitted the Children’s Home Society and served on the Christmas Tree Park committee. She served as a director of the Corcoran Chamber of Commerce for several years.
In 4-H, Kwast also served in county, regional and state capacities.
She believes that career politicians have taken over nearly every level of government.
“We need to get away from that and back to citizens stepping forward to serve our people,” said Kwast. “Too many career politicians are simply not held accountable to the people they serve.”
With a new, higher minimum wage approved by the state just this week, Kwast said many in government cannot understand why so many businesses are migrating away from California. As someone who has operated a business, she said she can attest to the high cost of continued restrictions and regulations. Many businesses that have already cut hours and employees will find themselves facing even more challenges. She noted.
“It will actually increase the cost of everything,” she said of the minimum wage.
Kwast has already been attending county department meetings to familiarize herself with the workings of Kings County government. She was also recently appointed to the citizens advisory committee for California State Prison Corcoran and is seeking appointment to the Avenal CAC. She supports the statewide initiative calling for ditching high speed rail bond money in favor of water projects.
Kwast is planning an official kick-off event for April 6.