Ramirez for County Supervisor

By Tim Pompey and Carlos Garcia

Oxnard City Council member and Mayor Pro Tem Carmen Ramirez announced her candidacy on Wednesday, March 6, for the County Supervisor seat that will be termed out in 2020 by current County Supervisor John Zaragoza.

Under cloudy skies and threat of rain, Ramirez and her supporters caught a break in the weather as they gathered at the Central Courtyard of the County Government Center in Ventura to kick off a year’s campaign that will culminate in the election currently scheduled for March 3, 2020. Ramirez, who grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, graduated from Loyola University School of Law in Los Angeles and has been an attorney for more than forty years.

She moved to Ventura County in 1978 and for sixteen years pursued a career as a legal aid attorney, working to help individual and families who had to appear in court. Then, for nine years, she worked for the Superior Court of Ventura County in Colonia helping Spanish-speaking residents understand their rights and responsibilities.

Ramirez asserted that her time as a legal aid attorney and her work for the Superior Court, especially with La Colonia families, defined her values.

“I was able to represent people like my own family,” she explained, “people who had troubles with the government, with employers, with business, even with healthcare providers.” She expressed her love for all the residents she helped in La Colonia.

“I provided information to mostly Spanish-speaking residents who were afraid to come to the Government Center,” she said. “They didn’t know what their rights were, they didn’t know what their responsibilities were, they literally thought if I go into this court house, even for a jaywalking ticket, I’m going to be dragged off to jail.”

She has served on the Oxnard City Council since 2010 and has served as Mayor Pro Tem since December 2012, December 2016, and December 2018.

Currently she has her own private practice in Oxnard that focuses on consumer matters, Social Security Disability cases, and immigration.

Ramirez has also been active in local environmental issues, including the successful fight against putting a Liquified Natural Gas terminal off Ormond Beach in 2007 and more recently the attempt in 2015 by NRG Energy to put a new power plant on the beach in Oxnard.

Ramirez is running to fill the seat of current 5th District County Supervisor John Zaragoza, who has endorsed Ramirez as his successor.

“John urged me to run,” she said, “and I’m going to do it.” Ramirez acknowledged the recent difficulties for both the city of Oxnard and the County of Ventura. “We’ve been through a terrible year,” she said, “because of fires and the shooting at Borderline (Bar and Grill).”

Her goal is to help the county rebound.

“I want to be part of the solutions here at the county,” she offered. “There is a policy the county has that my friend Kathy Long authored called “health in all policies,” and that is what we need to do everywhere, at the county, at the city, we have to make decisions based on: Is this good for our people?”

Her focus in the past has been on the well-being of young people as well as issues related to climate change. She also believes the county must prepare for an impending earthquake, or as she called it, “the big one.”

“It’s not if, but when,” she asserted. “We have to get ready.” In concluding, she asked “for a fair shake for my district.”

Her concern is also for the security of the public safety system, including fire and police. “I want to make that pledge,” she said, “that this will be how I make decisions. The health of our people, the health of our future, the health of our children, the health of life in our county.”