Riverside County Supervisors Kevin Jeffries and Jeff Stone -- one beginning his first term, the other starting his last, respectively -- took their oaths of office today, each promising to do whatever possible to ensure constituents' expectations are met and the county prospers in the years ahead.
"My office will be extremely open and accessible at all times," said Jeffries, who topped 20-year incumbent Supervisor Bob Buster to win the first district seat in the November election. "We will return all contact. We may not always have the answer you want, but we will always be open and straightforward with you."
The former assemblyman who lives in Lakeland Village and as supervisor represents the cities of Lake Elsinore and Wildomar, among other jurisdictions, vowed to stand by his campaign pledge of doing everything possible to promote the interests of small businesses.
"Helping the small businessman and woman who are trying to keep their doors open, expand or grow in Riverside County -- that's the key to our success," Jeffries said. "It's nice to have big employers who bring in a thousand jobs, but it's the mom and pops who serve the neighborhood that I want to help at every opportunity.
"Private sector job creation is how we're going to turn this county around. The board has been courageous in making the best of tough economic times. Now everybody's fighting for the crumbs," he continued. "It's time to really focus on building the economy in Riverside County."
Click here to read what he had to say today about development impact fees.
Jeffries admitted making mistakes as a lawmaker and on local governing boards.
"It's not if you're going to stumble, but do you pick yourself up and start back again?" he said.
The supervisor thanked his family, staff and supporters for sticking by him, as well as county staff for smoothing his transition.
"I don't like surprises on the agenda," he half-jokingly told county managers. "So, please, if there's something about the first district, let me know in advance. I don't want to see it the first time it's posted."
Stone, who has declared this will be his final four-year term after winning his first election to represent the third district in 2004, expressed gratitude to constituents for having confidence in him.
"Nothing is more humbling than being chosen by fellow citizens to lead them during these very challenging economic times," he said. "There have been sacrifices and some unflattering events. I especially thank my wife Regina for understanding why I'm late for dinner every night."
The supervisor shared memories of his mother, describing her as the inspiration for his successes, including achieving his "first love" of becoming a pharmacist.
"If you place your trust in God and family, your fellow man, you can accomplish anything you desire," Stone said.
The county -- still young and full of potential -- could be the "greatest in the state of California if we collectively set the bar higher," according to the supervisor.
"I promise to work hard with you to further our goals, never forgetting but always respecting opposing viewpoints," he said.
Stone represents the third district, which includes, among other jurisdictions, Temecula and Murrieta. --Toni McAllister contributed to this report.