When asked why he’s running for another 4-year term, Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit made it clear he believes he can still make a difference in the 4th District which encompasses the Coachella Valley.
“I kind of sense that I am just getting started, that I’ve got a lot of opportunity ahead of me and I am certainly anxious to continue the work,” he said.
Benoit’s challenger is California Assemblyman Manuel Perez who has termed out after serving three terms in Sacramento representing the 56th District. Six years of experience he believes can only help him on the county level.
“I’ve learned that we have to stay focused, we have to take tough votes, make tough decisions. We have to also have the vision and not be short sighted,” said Perez.
Since being appointed to the Board of Supervisors in 2009, before being elected the following year, Benoit is nothing short of proud of the role he has played in positive change to the Valley.
Most notably, how he led the charge to push for an expansion of the jail in Indio, rather than building a new one along Interstate 10 near Whitewater.
“At the end of the day we’ll have about a $60 million payroll addition for 400 new permanent positions in the Eastern Coachella Valley. That’s economic development that’s going to last for a long time,” said Benoit.
Perez on the other hand is proud of his role as a renewable energy advocate, and how he made sure legislation was passed setting aside millions of dollars for renewable energy projects in the state, something he points out, the Board of Supervisors didn’t take advantage of.
And on the subject that being Hispanic, Perez would bring diversity to the Board of Supervisors, he believes what matters most to voters is someone who makes their lives better.
“I think the point is — people want to see results in their community, people want to make sure that the pot hole is going to be filled, that there is going to be a sidewalk for their kids to walk to school,” said Perez.
As the incumbent, Benoit is confident he will be re-elected, while Perez says the polls show he is ahead in the race.
Add it up, and both candidates aren’t about to let up on the campaign trail.
“The polling says that we’re up, but we’re going to obviously make sure we do everything we can not to take anything for granted, do everything we can can to make sure people come out to vote,” said Perez.
Benoit added, the final days of the campaign can make or break an election.
“You take it very seriously, and we’re working very hard right up through election day, working as if you’re losing to make sure you win,” he said.