Following the death of City Council member Jeffrey Tkac, the residents of Bakersfield’s Ward 5 will have the opportunity to make their voices heard in a special election to fill the seat. Tkac took his own life on Jan. 5, a few weeks into his term.
The Bakersfield City Council began their first meeting of the year by honoring Tkac, whom was remembered as a loving father and member of the community.
Considering the length of the term left to serve, the city council passed a resolution on Jan. 25 authorizing a special election to take place June 6.
The news came as a victory to groups who had been collecting petition signatures in the ward to hold that special election.
Joey Williams, director at Faith in the Valley Kern, was involved in the coalition gathering signatures, made up of community organizations and labor unions.
He says his main motivation for facilitating that process was the right of citizens to choose their own representative. “[We need] a City Council to implement priorities for our families,” says Williams. He feels the council’s decision was influenced by the coalition’s efforts.
Anyone living in Ward 5 is eligible to run to fill the seat. Local construction professional Ryan Nance, who came in third place in the November election, has already announced his intent to seek the seat again.
The necessary paperwork must be filed at the City Clerk’s office by March 10.