Senator John Laird with RCRC Chair Chris Lopez, First Vice Chair Geri Byrne, Second Vice Chair Miles Menetrey, and Immediate Past Chair Doug Teeter.

RCRC installs 2024 officers and recognizes rural leadership award recipients

On Wednesday, Jan. 17, the Rural County Representatives of California installed its 2024 Officers and presented its Rural Leadership Awards.

During a meeting of the Board of Directors, Senator John Laird administered the official Oath of Office for the 2024 RCRC officers. Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez was installed as Chair, Modoc County Supervisor Geri Byrne as First Vice Chair, Mariposa County Supervisor Miles Menetrey as Second Vice Chair, and Butte County Supervisor Doug Teeter as Immediate Past Chair. The newly installed 2024 officers will lead the organization in championing policies on behalf of California’s rural counties.

“Building upon the dedicated work of prior RCRC leadership, I am honored to serve as 2024 Board Chair, and I look forward to working in concert with my thirty-nine colleagues and their boards to advance the interests of rural counties and their residents throughout California at both the state and federal level,” said Lopez.

In the evening, at their annual reception in Sacramento, RCRC celebrated the new officers and presented its annual Rural Leadership Award to two public officials who have demonstrated an understanding of and distinctive leadership in rural issues and the unique challenges that rural communities face.

Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil was recognized as one of the two recipients of the Rural Leadership Award because of her role in tackling unlicensed cannabis operations, securing budgetary resources for rural counties and advocating on key issues of importance for rural communities, such as property insurance, energy and wildfire.

“It was my pleasure to recognize Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil as a recipient of our Rural Leadership Award,” said Menetrey. “As the representative for the 4th State Senate District, the senator serves 12 of RCRC’s rural member counties, including my own county of Mariposa. In this role, she has advocated tirelessly for rural counties on a wide range of critical issues, demonstrating her dedication to enhancing and protecting the quality of life in rural California.”

“As a proud lifelong Californian, I make it my priority to protect the contributions of rural communities across Senate District 4 and beyond,” said Alvarado-Gil. “I am deeply committed to preserving the fabric of rural Californian traditions and will continue to champion resources wisely to ensure a more thriving California for all.”

Assemblymember Vince Fong also received the Rural Leadership Award, presented to him at the event by Tulare County Supervisor Dennis Townsend. Fong was recognized for his leadership championing several policies to mitigate and prevent wildfires as well as his efforts to enhance the accountability, effectiveness, and efficiency of state spending.

“Assemblymember Fong has exhibited unwavering commitment to the well-being of rural communities across the state and his advocacy efforts reflect his desire to ensure California’s rural counties have a voice,” said Supervisor Dennis Townsend. “On behalf of RCRC, we are thrilled to present Assemblymember Fong with our Rural Leadership Award.”

“Rural communities are special places to grow up and raise a family,” said  Fong. “We must make sure rural communities across the Central Valley and California have a strong voice in Sacramento. It is my privilege to defend our values, and this recognition by RCRC is such an honor.”