Three seats are available on the El Centro City Council. The incumbent council members, Mayor Efrain Silva, Edgard Garcia and Jason Jackson, are facing challengers Sonia Carter, Martha Cardenas-Singh and Sylvia Marroquin.
Name: Sonia Carter
City of residence: El Centro
Family (optional): We have five generations living in El Centro. I have one daughter; father, Benny Curtis Carter; mother, Betty Lou Gentry-Carter (deceased); sisters, Felicia and Karen Carter; numerous nephews, nieces, cousins, aunts, and I am a great-aunt.
Current employment: El Centro Elementary School District, computer lab supervisor for 22 years.
Other affiliations/memberships/board positions: CSEA, school site council, PTO president, and church youth director for 12 years.
Education: Central Union High School, 1991; Associates of Science in Business Management, Anthem College, Phoenix, May 2012; Bachelor of Science in Business Management, Anthem College, Phoenix, May 2014
Reasons for running and top issues: I come to the table with a strong background of helping others. I have volunteered on several committees that involve listening, being honest, consistent, and flexible. I come with a goal to understand the people and not fail them. I will use this new position to continue to empower and protect our community giving our people the leadership they deserve. I will keep our community informed and make sure their concerns are represented.
I have talked to several people in the community and they feel that they haven’t been heard and are tired of being overlooked. I will be that voice for all of our people and push for community meetings. The dignity of our office can help the community get past contentious issues. We need to reach good decisions, listen fairly, and be thoughtful. As your city council member, I will work tirelessly seeking your input on ways to build economic base of opportunities.
My immediate concern, however, is the safety because we are living in an unpredictable time. We have a lot of critical issues and we will schedule a strategy plan to develop support for all ages and nationalities. Our businesses are struggling the most during COVID. We must all come together, sit at the table, and create policies and movements for the survival and rebirth of downtown. We have some major city issues homelessness, lack of affordable housing, unemployment, poverty, services for mental illness, and substance abuse. I will stand up and fight for the best interest of our community. I believe that our council should represent all of our community and reflect its social, economic, and cultural diversity and bring a fresh perspective. I have learned that people working together can make a difference for everyone. Together, we can and will make a difference.
Name: Edgard Garcia
City of residence: El Centro
Family: Ari Garcia (wife), Alexander Garcia (son), Nathan Garcia (son), Dominic Garcia (son)
Current employment: Owner/attorney, Law Office of Edgard Garcia
Political experience: El Centro City Council member, 2015-present; Imperial County division president League of California Cities, 2018-2020; Imperial County division director League of California Cities, 2020-present
Employment history (last 10 years): Owner/Attorney, Law Office of Edgard Garcia 2012-present; partner/attorney Kowalski, Garcia & Steiner, 2010-2012; associate attorney, Marcus Family Law Center, 2009-2010
Other affiliations/memberships/board positions: Past president Imperial County Bar Association, past president El Centro Rotary Club, past lecturing knight Brawley Elks Club, board member El Centro Moose Lodge, board member Imperial Valley College Foundation, board member El Centro Police Athletics League
Education: B.S. chemistry, University of California, Santa Barbara; Juris doctorate, California Western School of Law
Reasons for running and top issues: I am running for re-election to the El Centro City Council for the same reasons I originally ran five years ago. I am raising my three sons in El Centro, I started my career in El Centro, and El Centro has given me the opportunity to open my own law firm and purchase my first home. These reasons have filled me with the utmost desire to use my knowledge and skills to serve the city of El Centro and to try to better the quality of life of its residents in any way that I can. My first priority is to assist the residents of El Centro to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic both on a health and safety side and on a business front. I also wish to continue with smart growth for the city and using Measure P funds for infrastructure improvements such as our renovations to our parks, building new parks such as First Responders Park and future projects such as a new library complex and police station. I will focus on economic development and ensure that we support local businesses especially since we are dealing with the unprecedented pandemic of COVID-19. I pledge to continue assisting businesses with protective equipment and business loans to help them reopen and stay open. I pledge to focus on protecting the health of our residents while we get our lives back on track post COVID-19. During these difficult times we need an experienced City Council that has a track record of dealing with adversity and maintaining a balanced budget. This is not the time for on the job training or playing catchup. A vote for Edgard Garcia is a vote for proven action, proven experience, and proven results. Vote Nov. 3 to re-elect Edgard Garcia. Thank you.
Name: Jason Jackson
City of residence: El Centro
Family: Married (Sandra); daughter, 3 years in December (Kensi); son (Raiden) 1.5 years
Current employment: Southwest Security, owner
Political experience: Nine years on City Council, Mayor 2016 (current mayor pro tem)
Employment history (last 10 years): Started Southwest Security five years ago. General manager for Desert Security for 17.5 years prior to that.
Other affiliations/memberships/board positions: El Centro Kiwanis Club, past president; El Centro Community Foundation, vice president; Imperial Valley Patriotic Planning Committee, co-founder/vice president; Imperial Valley Economic Development Corp., vice chairman; Imperial County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), chairman; Imperial County Workforce Development Board, vice chairman
Education: Graduate of Central Union High School; Associate degree in administration of justice, Imperial Valley College; bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, San Diego State University-Imperial Valley campus, Calexico; master’s degree in public administration, SDSU-IV
Reasons for running and top issues: I am running for re-election because I believe all politics are local, and we as local residents have an opportunity to make a difference that affect our children’s future. My goals and accomplishments over the last five years include the authorship and successful passage of Measure P. Measure P became the solution to the many needs of our city. It was earmarked for capital improvements and enabled the city to invest millions of dollars in the rehabilitation of our current parks, as well as the development and construction of two new ones. Additionally, Measure P has allowed the city to finance both a new police station and a new public library. Both projects are in the final design stages, with groundbreaking festivities coming soon.
I am and will continue to be the candidate who supports small business, large scale economic development, and improving the quality of life for our residents. I will continue to be the voice for transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility to ensure the best use of our city taxpayer dollars. While I have been able to work hard and accomplish these and many other goals, I want to address the new era of issues facing our local economy. I want to continue to find solutions to address the following:
1. Job creation:
2. Economic development
3. The unfortunate results we all will face due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m hoping to continue to represent my community and leave this place better than how I found it. As a young community leader, I obtained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boys Scouts of America, and my philosophy in life continues to be their main tenet of leadership: leave any place better than how you found it. I humbly ask for your support and vote to keep improving our city for our future generations.
Name: Sylvia Marroquin
City of residence: El Centro
Family: Mother, four siblings, four nieces and nephews, and two great nieces
Current employment: Business manager, St. Mary’s School
Political experience: No previous political experience
Employment history (last 10 years): April 2016 to present, business manager, St. Mary’s School; April 2011 to March 2016, business advisor and center manager, Imperial Valley Small Business Development Center; July 2010 to April 2011, financial literacy specialist and micro business center coordinator, Neighborhood House of Calexico; 1984 to 2009, management positions at Imperial Savings & Loan, Sun Community FCU, First Imperial CU and The Golden One CU
Other affiliations/memberships/board positions: Past president and board member, Optimist Club of El Centro; member of Pastoral Council, Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, El Centro; member of Imperial Valley Patriotic Planning Committee
Education: Bachelor of science in business management and Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix
Reasons for running and top issues: I am running for El Centro City Council because I believe honesty, integrity, and transparency are needed characteristics in our city’s leadership. My motivation is simple: El Centro is my hometown. It’s where I grew up and where my family lives. I have no hidden agendas and no self-interests. My desire to lead comes purely from my heart of service.
These are unprecedented times that call for a strong understanding of current conditions and how they affect our community prosperity. I am prepared to:
Mitigate economic fall-out due to COVID-19 by assisting businesses with recovery and/or growth efforts;
Care for the health of our community by maintaining a strong hospital system; and
Alleviate homelessness by working with local resource agencies. I believe the experience I have gained throughout my career in business, coupled with my Master of Business Administration degree, has prepared me to lead the City of El Centro through the challenging times that lie ahead. My promises lie in my ability to be committed, dedicated, willing to listen and ready to work. If you are ready for a leader with honesty, integrity, and transparency, then vote for me, Sylvia Marroquin on Nov. 3.
Name: Martha Cardenas-Singh
City of residence: El Centro, Ca 92243
Family (optional): Spouse, Edward Singh, married for 31 years; and two grown daughters and sons-in-law, Kendra and Raul Ochoa, and Kayla and Guillermo Hernandez; two grandchildren, Kali, 5, and Jordan, 1. Parents Abelardo and Enedina Cardenas.
Current employment: University of California, San Diego, assistant director, California Student Opportunities and Access Programs (CalSOAP)
Other affiliations/membership/board positions: While working as a community advocate, I have nurtured a deep commitment to social, environmental, and economic justice. I proudly serve as president of MANA de Imperial Valley which is a chapter of the MANA National Latina Organization, which provides Latinas with leadership development, promotes higher education opportunities, community service to underserved populations and advocacy. As the treasurer for ARC Imperial Valley, we assist individuals with intellectual challenges to achieve their potential through job training, case management and employment. As vice president of Soroptimist International of El Centro, we provide opportunities to improve the lives of women and girls with access to education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I became treasurer for Vo Neighborhood, which is a nonprofit organization that provides a Meals-to-Heal program to assist COVID-19 patients with meals while recovery at home in isolation to reduce the spread of COVID-19. I have been an advocate for five years on providing education and prevention information on human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children.
Education: A.A., social science, B.A., social science, and M.A. marriage and family therapy
Reasons for running and top issues: I am a proud third-generation resident of El Centro and I seek to serve you on the council. I have witnessed its history with all its successes. I view El Centro and its resources as an opportunity to promote public health, affordable housing, and pathways to higher education and employment. My leadership style is to solve problems through a respectful and collaborative effort. In the midst of this pandemic, I offer proven leadership, innovation, and commitment. If elected, I will take immediate action to improve unemployment and under-employment rates, economic development, homelessness, and access to healthcare services.
City government needs to be transparent and inclusive. I’m recognized throughout the community for my passionate activism and investment into our youth. As the Assistant Director for the University of California San Diego- California Student Opportunities and Access program, I have had the opportunity to encourage all students to access a higher education and/or a career technical pathway. I’m community minded and able to bring regional stakeholders to address regional issues. I have a strong work ethics, respected as a transformation leader, and built trust within my community to listening and addressing unmet needs. I have a heart too for underserved populations and building equity for our community. My three priorities are economic recovery, engagement of state and federal resources to address the injustice related to affordable housing, adequate healthcare, and quality of life amenities. My upmost priority if elected is to address the public health and economic health of our city. Equally important is the priority to re-open businesses by leveraging state and federal monies and resources. As a City Council member my commitment is to support, re-open, recover and grow businesses. I offer my values, experience, and commitment in keeping the momentum for progress for the residents of El Centro. I’m ready to listen, serve and lead.
Name: Efrain Silva
City of residence: El Centro
Current employment: Dean of Economic and Workforce Development, Imperial Valley College
Political experience: Two terms, trustee El Centro Elementary School District; two terms, trustee Central Union High School District; three terms council member city of El Centro. El Centro mayor 2011, 2015, 2020.
Employment history (last 10 years): Dean of Economic and Workforce Development, Imperial Valley College
Other affiliations/memberships/board positions: Board of directors: El Centro Regional Medical Center; Imperial Valley Economic Development Corp.; Imperial County Workforce Development Board; founding member Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program Community Foundation.
Education: A.S., Imperial Valley College; B.A., San Diego State University; MBA, Northern Arizona University
Reasons for running and top issues: I am seeking re-election to the El Centro City Council because I have a vested interest in the future of El Centro. I plan to retire and live the rest of my days in El Centro. My children graduated from Southwest High School and now my grandchildren are also attending El Centro schools. I want to continue improving the quality of life not only for my grandchildren but every child and every resident of El Centro. I am an immigrant to this beautiful country. As a former English learner and farm worker, I understand and lived many of the same struggles our residents face. I would not be a dean at IVC or the mayor of El Centro if it were not for opportunities given to me by other people and organizations. My mission in life is to give back. My experience and tenure as an elected official for 27 years, 13 years on the City Council, and three terms as your mayor, have given me a solid understanding of the intricacies of government and how to get things done. The recovery road from the COVID pandemic will be challenging from personal and economic perspectives. Businesses will need the support of the city to face these struggles. The development of the strategic plan 2040 will require a vision for the future of El Centro. There are several phenomenal projects coming to El Centro such as a new police headquarters, a new library, and the development of South Imperial Avenue, which will become a thriving commercial district in the city. I hope that the voters of El Centro bring me back this November so that I can continue with my mission and be the voice of our residents. I ask for your support this Nov. 3.
This story is featured in the Oct 08, 2020 e-Edition.