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Fragoso says she can bring fresh approach to government

Annissa Fragoso
Annissa Fragoso

Annissa Fragoso is known as a community leader, a successful small business owner, and a champion for local causes — such as improving Merced’s downtown district or speaking out about preserving this region’s water supply.

“I have dedicated a significant amount of my personal and professional life in supporting the betterment of our community’s quality of life through volunteerism, advocacy, education, and the promotion of local businesses,” she says.

Fragoso owns an independent Farmers Insurance agency and holds the title of president of the Merced County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. This year, she is also running as a political candidate for the District 2 seat on the Merced County Board of Supervisors. District 2 includes the vast majority of the City of Merced and the UC Merced campus community. Fragoso is challenging incumbent Supervisor Josh Pedrozo in a race that will likely be decided in the March 5 Primary Election.

“I am running for District 2 supervisor because I have witnessed a series of events over the last few years that have led me to believe there should be a change in leadership in our county government,” she says. “One specifically is the flooding that occurred in Planada due to lack of proper management of our waterways that displaced so many people unnecessarily.”

The candidate points out that Merced County for many years did not acquire the necessary permits that would have prevented flooding in Planada, Merced and other parts of the region. Policies and the lack of action, according to Fragoso, have led to real-world consequences for the people living in District 2 and elsewhere in eastern Merced County.

“It is not my intent to strike a negative tone with my campaign or my concerns; however, these are the facts and I believe District 2 deserves better leadership,” Fragoso says.

She also has strong views about the local water supply derived from Lake McClure in eastern Merced County.

“This water supply is threatened by two statewide policies at this time. The loss of these water supplies will have a devastating impact on our cities’ drinking water – and irrigation water that support our county’s $3 billion agricultural-based economy and our people. I have been directly involved in providing letters and direct testimony to the State Water Resources Control Board on the impacts of their Bay Delta Water Quality Control Plan. I have every intention on advocating for our water rights, and not sending our water to other communities.”

With regard to the issue of public safety at the county level, the candidate says she supports “better funding and more resources” for law enforcement partners so that they can provide better response times and have a more proactive approach to dealing with community safety issues.

“Our Sheriff’s Department is dangerously understaffed, which affects the safety of our community as voiced by our current sheriff, Vern Warnke. That lack of adequate staffing affects the ability to fight crime, control drugs and gangs.”

Fragoso says there are big differences between her and Supervisor Pedrozo, a former teacher at Merced High School who is finishing up his first term in county office, and has served previously on the Merced City Council for nine years.

“He has never owned or ran a business, and where I am not a career Politician,” she says.

Fragoso describes herself as an advocate and a supporter of the local community through volunteer involvement as the president of the Hispanic Chamber, the former director of Kids Discovery Station, and the current director of Merced Main Street Association.

The candidate is a lifelong resident of the Central Valley who has made Merced her home for nearly three decades.

Fragoso earned her degree in Criminal Justice at Merced Community College. She worked for the Department of Corrections until beginning her insurance career in 2005. She opened up the Farmers Insurance agency in 2012.

“I did so to help local families navigate their rights as insurance holders to help better their lives financially,” she says. “This experience challenged me to become more involved in the community.”

Fragoso has also been the chair of the 5k Cowboy/Vaquero Run for five consecutive years, an event that helps keep the Hispanic Chamber’s Scholarship Foundation funded for select Merced County graduating seniors. She has received several awards for her various achievements during her professional career, including the Minerva Empresaria Award 2022 from the California State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce which recognizes businesswomen who empower others by leading with wisdom and passion.

In both of her roles as business owner and chamber leader, Fragoso says she is responsible for balancing budgets, hiring and training staff and forecasting payroll as part of the day-to-day operations.

“I also interact, collaborate and build relationships with a large and diverse group of people across many local and state agencies to bring awareness to the issues that affect Merced County. Through the interaction and collaboration with local community members I have heard the concerns and needs of the people.”

Says Fragoso, “If you want to see a community leader, who has run a successful business, championed local agriculture and water at the highest levels of state government, made a direct impact on education, homelessness, and business right in the middle of downtown Merced on Main Street, I invite you to join my team and vote for me on March 5th.”

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