West Sacramento Councilman Oscar Villegas has been appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the Yolo County Board of Supervisors, Brown’s office announced Friday.
Villegas, 47, a city councilman since 2000, will take the District 1 seat vacated by Mike McGowan. Villegas fills the remainder of McGowan’s term, which ends this year.
McGowan, himself a longtime West Sacramento political fixture, left the board in December to become the Department of Motor Vehicles’ deputy director of strategic planning.
Minutes after the Friday announcement, Villegas said he was ready to get to work.
“There are big issues facing this district. In Yolo, there are major issues related to flood control, water, public safety – these are big-ticket items that we have to manage. There’s no time for ramp-up,” Villegas said.
Local officials also weighed in. Yolo County Supervisor Matt Rexroad lauded Villegas’ West Sacramento roots and deep knowledge of county issues.
“Oscar is a first-round draft choice for the board. He can play right away,” Rexroad said via email. “We have a number of issues going on – rail relocation, Delta stuff, AB 109 (prison realignment) ... that Oscar will be able to hit the ground running on. We need someone who can go now.”
Villegas, a lifelong West Sacramentan, went from writing letters to City Council members and walking precincts for candidates in his early 20s to stints on the city Planning Commission and the Port of West Sacramento. His wife, Katie Villegas, is a trustee of the city’s Washington Unified School District and executive director of the nonprofit Yolo County Children’s Alliance.
Since 2000, Villegas has been a member of a City Council that navigated West Sacramento through recession and into an aggressive growth phase geared toward remaking the city’s riverfront.
“He’s going to be a terrific asset to the county,” said West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon. “He has big work ahead of him, but he’s up to it.”
Cabaldon said of the appointment that the city “had made no preparations for this moment,” but would soon discuss the vacancy.
Villegas said he will seek election to the seat representing West Sacramento, Clarksburg and neighboring communities in June.
“Absolutely. I’m in it for the long term,” Villegas said Friday. “I want to sustain the seat as long as it takes to get the job done.”
When Villegas will assume the county job was unclear Friday. He said he is not certain how his new post will affect his current job as a field representative at the California Board of State and Community Corrections, where has worked since 2008.
Villegas will receive $59,004 a year as supervisor. He is a registered Democrat.
Call The Bee’s Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.