DEL MAR — Richard Valdez was named to the 22nd District Agricultural Association, filling a vacancy left when Ruben Barrales resigned last month.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s office announced the appointment on Oct. 22, about three weeks after Barrales notified board President Fred Schenk he was stepping down.
“It was a tough decision,” said Barrales, who served on the nine-member panel that governs the Del Mar Fairgrounds since 2007. “But I’ve been busy traveling all over the state, and it’s time for somebody else.”
Barrales is a former deputy assistant to President George W. Bush and director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. He is currently president of GROW Elect, a political action committee that recruits, endorses, trains and funds Latino Republican candidates for public office.
Valdez, a graduate of the University of California San Diego, earned his law degree from the University of San Diego, where he has been an adjunct professor in the School of Law since 2008. He is currently a partner at Sandler, Lasry, Laube, Byer and Valdez.
Valdez is one of five attorneys and six Democrats who currently serve on the nonpartisan board.
Since he took office nearly four years ago, Brown has been slow to fill vacancies on the fair board. In fact, the panel went about two years without a full slate of directors until June.
Del Mar Mayor Lee Haydu, who was asked by board members and state Assembly leader Toni Atkins, to add her name to the list of potential appointees, interviewed for the position.
She could be considered in January, when the terms of David Lizerbram and Stephen Shewmaker expire.