About two weeks ago at an event with some of his supporters and friends, Mayor Joe Rocha announced he will seek reelection in March.
Rocha said he normally announces his campaign before the political season hits full throttle because he runs a “grass roots campaign.” He needs early word of mouth in order to be competitive because he won’t ask for political contributions, he said.
“It makes me uncomfortable in these economic times to ask people for money for signs,” Rocha said to me in a phone conversation today.
He said he will run on his record and use friends around town to ask others to support his campaign.
He hasn’t heard of anyone running against him (neither have I) and it wouldn’t be surprising if he was once again unopposed. Rocha is regarded by many in the community as being someone who votes with his heart as much as his mind. He is actively involved in the community and a vocal advocate for the needy and veterans.
He is also accessible. I have heard numerous stories from people calling on Rocha or him visiting people at their homes (without him trying to draw attention to it) to help with a problem or offer some counseling.
Those efforts have made him many friends in the community that would make it difficult for a challenger to run against him.
In addition, he was the only council person to vote against the Vulcan Materials Co.’s Azusa Rock Quarry mining proposal. How that would play out in an election is yet to be seen.
Besides Vulcan, major topics in the next election would be getting a grocery store, downtown development and bringing a quality hotel to Azusa, Rocha said.
Rocha was first elected Mayor in 2007 when he defeated incumbent Diane Chagnon, leaving behind his council seat.
He then ran unopposed in 2009 for his first reelection campaign.