RIVERSIDE, Calif. - The Riverside County Board of Supervisors swore-in its newest member Tuesday morning, welcoming V. Manuel Perez to his new role as the Fourth District Supervisor. He was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday, May 9 to fill the Fourth District seat, which became vacant following the Dec. 26 death of Supervisor John J. Benoit. Benoit served as supervisor for seven years.
KESQ and CBS Local 2's Jeremy Chen was in Riverside for the swearing-in ceremony, which was open to the public. He learned more information about Perez's plans while in office. He has some big shoes to fill and said he's aware of the challenges ahead and is ready to tackle them.
The community was invited to the reception, which took place at 8 a.m. on the fifth floor of the County Administrative Center, located at 4080 Lemon Street in Riverside.
After the reception, the Board of Supervisor's meeting began with Supervisor Perez taking the oath of office, administered by Riverside Superior Court Judge Raquel Marquez. The meeting began at 9 a.m. in the Board of Chambers.
According to Supervisor Marion Ashley, Perez is Riverside County's first Latino supervisor. Perez has experience in public office which includes being a Coachella City Councilman, a State Assemblyman and a school board member.
Perez said he's aware of the legacy of the man he's replacing, John Benoit, and is retaining some of Benoit's staff members.
"The short-term goal is to make sure that our team is tight and I think I have that already, and we've been able to work through that during this last week," Perez said.
As he tackles the big issues such as the Salton Sea and the county budget, Perez said he wants to lend an open ear to everyone in the Fourth District through listening tours.
"We intend to do that within the entire district and my hope is to launch that campaign within the next two weeks," Perez added.
Coachella Mayor and Perez's Chief of Staff Steven Hernandez said one of the supervisor's first priorities will be healthcare.
"I know that's an area he wants to concentrate right now," Hernandez said. "At the same time, he has a lot of legislative experience, someone who knows his way around Sacramento."
Indio City Councilman and a representative for Senator Jeff Stone, Glenn Miller, said he and the senator's office looks forward to working with Perez.
"We're here to help. What can we do as a state representative to help the county and yourself and your staff be successful so our community is better," Miller said.
Perhaps most of all, Perez said he intends to prove to voters in his district that he is the right man for the job.
"I think that through hard work and strong constituency services and passing good policy, over the course of time, I can win over people and that is my hope," Perez concluded.
For Perez to retain his seat, he will have to run in the Primary Election in June of 2018. Palm Desert Mayor Jan Harnik has already indicated that she will be running for the seat as well.
Perez made the following statement upon being appointed the role by Governor Jerry Brown on May 9.
"I am humbled and honored to have been granted the opportunity to serve on the Board of Supervisors," said Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. "I look forward to working with Riverside County staff to make sure we continue to be responsive and accessible to the needs and concerns of constituents throughout the Coachella and Palo Verde Valleys. While there are many issues our county must confront, none are insurmountable when we work together. I look forward to the work ahead."
Supervisor V. Manuel Perez represents the eastern two-thirds of Riverside County on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. Stretching from Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs, south to the Salton Sea and east to Blythe and the Colorado River, the 4th District is the largest geographical district in the county, according to the county's release.