Communication and collaboration - these are the two main principles Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa spoke of during his swearing in as president of the California State Association of Counties last week.
"I know it sounds simple, but it's the key to keeping 58 counties in California moving forward," said Chiesa.
Having previously served as the first vice president of CSAC, Chiesa's new one year commitment will prove his most demanding as he will preside over the association that represents 38 million California residents.
"It's a greater opportunity to create the direction of spending in the state of California for the counties and reiterate our vision," said Chiesa.
While the Hughson lifelong resident is well-versed in tackling issues unique to the Stanislaus agricultural region, as president of CSAC Chiesa will "stay away from single county problems" and address more "broad based" issues, water unsurprisingly at the top of the list.
"Water will continue to be number one, bar none," said Chiesa, noting the importance of water storage.
Along with lobbying for the counties, Chiesa will work with fellow officers to ensure that laws are implemented correctly and funds are spent properly. Attention will also be paid to mental health funding, which Chiesa says is "woefully short," transportation needs, and funding sources for the gas tax.
As president of the CSAS, Chiesa will work with representatives of California's 58 coastal, urban, and agricultural counties and while finding common ground on issues may sometimes prove difficult, Chiesa is eager to participate.
"It's only for one year and it's still a team sport so the concept is to keep the counties together," said Chiesa. "Everything is about relationships... there is no stronger voice than 58 counties together."
Chiesa is no stranger to collaborating as he has served on nearly 15 various boards and commissions and held two former presidencies: the Stanislaus County Fair Board and the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau. When Chiesa isn't presiding over CSAC, he will continue to serve on 10 local boards including the Stanislaus Council of Governments Policy Board and Executive Committee.
"I'm going to take it one day at a time," laughed Chiesa.