Photo by Hubble Ray Smith.
KINGMAN – Lois Wakimoto was appointed as Mohave County District 5 supervisor Tuesday, chosen from among eight candidates to fill the vacancy left when Supervisor Steve Moss was appointed to Mohave County Superior Court judge.
Wakimoto has lived in Mohave Valley since 1981, where she operates a family farming operation.
She brings a wide range of public and private experience with the agricultural industry, having previously served at the state level with the Arizona Farm Service Agency. She was also elected to the Mohave County Farm Agency.
She has business experience in accounting, managing budgets, personnel, customer service, logistics, sales and collections.
“I am committed to the community,” she told the Board of Supervisors prior to her appointment. “I want to work with the board to make Mohave County a better place. I’m willing to give 100 percent of my time and effort to make things better for Mohave County and be the voice for District 5.”
Wakimoto was appointed by a 3-2 vote on a motion made by Supervisor Jean Bishop and seconded by Supervisor Hildy Angius, with Supervisor Gary Watson voting in favor. No votes came from Supervisor Buster Johnson and Board Clerk Ginny Anderson, who was allowed to vote under state law.
County Attorney Matt Smith said the county recorder at one time was the tie-breaking vote to fill a supervisor vacancy, but that was changed by Arizona State Supreme Court to allow the clerk of the board to cast the vote.
In 2014, Anderson cast the tie-breaking vote to appoint Jean Bishop to replace the late Joy Brotherton.
Johnson asked County Attorney Matt Smith if Anderson had been informed that she would be voting on the appointment since it was a deviation from past procedures.
Smith said he didn’t talk to Anderson about voting, but Deputy County Attorney Ryan Esplin said he had a discussion with her to answer general questions about the procedure.
He explained that she would vote in a roll call, and not just be a tie-breaker vote. She was present at the private interviews of all eight candidates on Aug. 28.
“I just think we should have had this ahead of time. It puts Miss Anderson in a tough position,” Johnson said.
Wakimoto was sworn into office by Presiding Superior Court Judge Charles Gurtler after the appointment, and voted on Tuesday’s regular agenda items.
“I just really appreciated the county for all it’s given me and my kids. I raised two kids here. I believe in this county,” she said.
Wakimoto sees Mohave Valley growing into a bedroom community for people working in Needles, California, and is against putting in roundabouts on Highway 95 that one citizen spoke against during public comments.