BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - Anthony Williams the Legislative Secretary from governor Gavin Newsom's office has been making monthly visits to Bakersfield for the past five months, and on Thursday, he toured a neighborhood in southeast Bakersfield most in need of revitalization, and coincidental, his home town.
Cottonwood Road, known for its struggles with poverty, homelessness, and crumbling infrastructure, had something special to show Williams, who came to Bakersfield by invitation from Kern County supervisor Leticia Perez, ward one city councilman Willie Rivera, the Bakersfield City School District, and the MLK Community Initiative.
"It's just good to see this community revitalization happen by way of a brand new school," Williams said.
The state-of-the-art Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School, opening this fall to welcome 700 students, was top of the agenda.
"We want the state to see what is beautiful about Bakersfield," Rachelle Montoya, the incoming school principal, and leader of the school's construction project, said. "I'm excited that it's in this neighborhood and in this community," she said.
Williams, who was born and raised in Bakersfield, spoke of interest in building a long-term financial partnership with Kern County.
Rather than highlight the areas most in need, city councilman Rivera said this tour was an opportunity to show how far investment dollars can go in Cottonwood.
"It's important that at a local level, at a county level, at a statewide level, everyone knows that Bakersfield is actually ahead of the game when it comes to certain things," Rivera said.