Set on being an effective representative in Assembly District 26

A lack of effective representation in Assembly District 26 is a problem Visalia Mayor Warren Gubler plans to fix if elected.

“There’s a lot of people that are unhappy with our current Assemblyman,” Gubler said. “What we need is someone who is a business person and someone who understands the law, and that is a good combination because that is what you are doing up there [Sacramento], writing the laws.”

In addition to serving on the Visalia City Council since 2009, and as Vice Mayor from 2013 to 2016, Gubler has been reading and interpreting laws for 35 years as a lawyer. He is a founding partner of Gubler & Abbott LLP, a law firm in Visalia, and is the past president of the Tulare County Bar Association.

Instead of interpreting the law, however, Gubler said he now wants to be on the other side and start writing the laws that affect people in Assembly District 26. The Assembly seat is currently occupied by Devon Mathis

Born in Exeter, Gubler moved to Porterville a short time later after his dad, a former agriculture teacher, accepted a position as the head of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) department at Porterville High School. His mother stayed at home and took care of the house as well as Gubler, his five sisters and brother.

Growing up, Gubler and his family didn’t have a lot financially, but it was instilled in him early on that “you earn what you get in life.”

All throughout his life, Gubler did just that.

Through sports scholarships, academic scholarships and working, Gubler put himself through school, earning a bachelor’s in political science from Brigham Young University in 1980 and a Juris Doctor in 1983 from J. Reuben Clark Law School where he also met his wife of 36 years.

After he finished up with school, Gubler and his wife moved all of their possessions to Visalia in an orange Volkswagen Bug.

Together, they have five children — four girls and one boy. His oldest daughter is a school psychologist in Paso Robles who just earned her master’s. His second oldest daughter is expecting his third grandchild and is happily married living in Central Washington. His son is a second-year dental student, his third daughter is finishing up her last semester with a degree in music education, and his youngest daughter is a college rugby star majoring in Spanish.

“Those things don’t just happen,” Gubler said. “It takes a lot of work to raise a successful family.”

Not only has Gubler been a successful family man, he has also been a successful attorney, businessman and employer with running Gubler & Abbott LLP for nearly 20 years, and has been successful serving on the Visalia City Council and as mayor where he has been instrumental in bringing about a number of projects. One of such projects is the Visalia Senior Games, which was created under the umbrella of the California Senior Games Association (CSGA). The program promotes healthy, active lifestyles for adults ages 50 and over.

Next month Visalia will host its third annual senior games event where Gubler is expecting the number of participants to nearly quadruple since the first event.

“Our first one we had about 230 people, last year we had 510, and our goal this year is to have over 800 participants,” Gubler said, adding that people come as far away as Oregon, Washington and Texas. “That is called innovative government, that is called doing something and not sitting there with a body of 79 other people and hoping someone has a good idea.”

Another “good idea” Gubler helped make a reality is improving water conservation in Visalia.

“We are just completing the largest public works project in the history of Visalia,” Gubler said.

The project, Gubler said, focuses on taking liquid waste out to the city’s plant. With new equipment such as filters, Gubler said the waste will come out 99 percent pure water, which he said can be used for anything except for drinking.

Gubler said he plans on using the water to irrigate the city’s golf course, city parks and the 1,000 acres of nut trees the city owns around the plant.

In 2017, Gubler helped the city percolate 25,000 acre feet of water back into the ground of Visalia.

“That is as much water as all of Visalia uses for all purposes — indoor and outdoor — and we put it back into the ground,” Gubler said. “That is called innovation, that is called smart government.”

That smart government is what Gubler plans to bring to Assembly District 26 and to address a number of concerns facing residents such as issues with jobs, public safety and effective representation.

As far as jobs, Gubler believes the first thing to do to fix the problem is cut back on regulations and do “innovative things.”

Innovative things such as the ones he’s done in Visalia like the Environmental Cleanup Opportunities (ECO) Project, which focuses on giving 10 homeless people jobs for 90 days. The project consists of two phases.

During the first phase, Gubler said participants work for the Tulare County Workforce Investment Board. He said the second phase consists of them working with the City of Visalia.

“With this homeless workforce program, we can take these homeless people and put them back into the mainstream employment and give them a second chance,” Gubler said.

Another creative solution Gubler has helped come up with is giving a tax credit for employers that hire homeless people, which he said has resulted in more employers saying they will take a chance in hiring someone experiencing homelessness.

If elected, Gubler said he would bring the same creative problem-solving skills to help the job problem. Additionally, Gubler said he would also cut back on regulations and make the government in Sacramento “a friend of business, not an enemy of business.”

Aside from jobs, Gubler believes public safety is another issue that can be solved by giving the necessary resources to law enforcement officers.

Gubler said a study that came out last year rated Visalia as the safest city in the San Joaquin Valley. On top of that, Gubler said Visalia is in the process of hiring 30 more police officers.

“We are a safe city,” Gubler said, adding, “We can make this whole district safe and there’s ways to do it. You’ve got to make public safety a priority.”

Another thing Gubler said he will make a priority as Assemblyman is listen to the concerns of constituents and voting in ways that will benefit them.

“I want to let people know what I am doing in Sacramento, I want to be responsive,” Gubler said, adding that he will make the best decisions he can. “As I do at city hall, I make the tough decisions, the best decisions based upon the facts and that is called being a leader in government.”

Being an effective leader in government has earned Gubler the support of many prominent members in the community such as Senator Andy Vidak, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux and Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward.

“It is a privilege to be endorsed by these people,” Gubler said. “They have seen what I have done in Visalia and they said it is time for a change.”

Earning the trust from public officials and numerous others throughout the district has also helped Gubler raise $123,050 during the latest fundraising period, more than the incumbent and any other candidate running.

“I think the fundraising and the fact that I am raising all of my money in this district tells you something about my credentials and what the people of this district want,” Gubler said.

Originally published February 19, 2018, Porterville Recorder.