Hollister Councilman Jim Gillio last weekend announced his candidacy for San Benito County District 4 Supervisor, challenging Supervisor Jerry Muenzer.
Muenzer said Monday that he intends to seek re-election to a third four-year term on the board of supervisors.
“I am running for supervisor because I feel that I can deliver the leadership and vision for our county that we need most,” Gillio said in a press release. “My time as a small business owner and employer have shown me the challenges that families and employers are facing. This experience has also given me insight on how to help make San Benito County a more welcoming place for both employers and our community members.”
District 4 encompasses the majority of south county, as well as southeast Hollister, Tres Pinos, Cielo Vista, Stone Gate, Ridgemark, Paicines, Panoche, Pinnacles, Bitterwater and New Idria.
Gillio said he is committed to finishing his term on the Hollister City Council, which ends on December 31, 2018.
The city council appointed Gillio to the open District 4 seat in May when former Councilman Roy Sims abruptly stepped down after moving outside the district earlier in the year. Sims was elected last November to one of four council seats next to the mayor on the dais.
“I couldn’t be happier with the city council’s appointment of Jim Gillio to District 4,” Hollister City Manager Bill Avera said in the press release. “Jim has shown the dedication required to serve this community with class and dignity. He is very intelligent and will not consider taking action without educating himself and understanding all the necessary factors. The County of San Benito will be extremely fortunate to have Jim Gillio as a member of the board if elected. The city will be losing a valuable asset.”
Among Gillio’s top priorities are public safety, economic development and fiscal solvency. He wants to ensure public safety officers have adequate resources and support, champion the local region for existing business while attracting new business, and make sure the county is financially stable and that infrastructure like roads are state-of-the-art for future generations.
“[Gillio] used to work for me in high school,” Muenzer said. “He was a great employee. As far as the race itself, I feel like it’s best to run a clean race. I’m looking forward to serving the people of District 4 for another four years.”
The current city councilman began his long career of public service in law enforcement. He served as a San Benito County Deputy Sheriff before spending 15 years with the Gilroy Police Department. During that time, he was a gang investigator who rose to the rank of captain and oversaw that division of the department and a $17 million budget.
During his time on the council, Gillio has championed public safety initiatives and supported the increase in sworn personnel to the Hollister Police Department. He’s received support for his supervisor candidacy from the Hollister Police Officers Association, which also supported his run for city council.
Before his time in law enforcement, Gillio worked in agriculture for over 12 years. He started off as an agricultural hand at his mother’s business, Gillio Farms, which was a local San Benito County decorative produce business. He started working at Gillio Farms at the age of nine and ultimately returned to manage the day-to-day operations after graduating from Fresno State with a Bachelor of Science in Criminology. He’s currently the owner and manager of Central Ag Supply, which offers personal protective equipment and janitorial supplies.
Gillio has lived in San Benito County since he was a child. He’s married to Tricia Gillio and they have an 11-year-old daughter.
District 4 isn’t the only county seat that could change next November, as District 3 Supervisor Robert Rivas has opened a committee and filed to run for California State Assembly District 30, currently represented by Anna Caballero.
Because of term limits, Caballero cannot run as an incumbent next November.
Rivas has not made an official announcement. He said one is forthcoming.
“I have tremendous support throughout the Assembly district,” Rivas said by phone Monday. “I’m excited, but all I can tell you at this point is that a public announcement will be coming soon.”