By Logan Hall
Ventura County Fire Department Fire Chief Bob Roper, an Ojai resident, announced his bid for county District 1 supervisor at a press conference on Monday. Roper made his announcement just days after current Supervisor Steve Bennett announced his campaign for the 26th seat on the U.S. Congress.
Roper says that he has had his eye on local politics for several years, but had to focus on his position with the VCFD, forcing him to abandon his pursuit. “I contemplated a possible run for the Ojai City Council a few years ago,” he said. “It just didn’t work out with my current job.”
He says that now he’s ready to make the move to run for supervisor. “I really feel that if I get elected,” he said, “I can keep contributing to the community and I think that position would really fit my skill sets.”
Although he has spent 32 years with the VCFD, Roper says that he isn’t retiring, but looking for a new direction to take. “It’s one of those things where you start asking if you’re still fresh in the job,” he said. “It’s just time for me to find something different. What challenges are out there that I haven’t taken on? Well — this is it.”
Roper says that he is familiar with the position of county supervisor and believes that his experience in the Fire Department will carry over if he’s elected. “I currently take policy direction from the (county) Board of Supervisors,” he said. “Oftentimes they’ll ask for input from me. We’re all in the same county family as far as rules and procedures go. I really think it will transition nicely.”
After his initial announcement, Roper’s next step will be to organize his campaign and start reaching out to the community. “First I’ll start meeting with people to figure out the priorities for District 1,” he said. “My No. 1 obligation right now is still this organization (VCFD), so I know it’s going to mean much longer hours. I realize that it will take time and dedication. This is something that you really have to work at.”