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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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City of OxnardCandidate for Council Member, Council District 1

Photo of Ken Oplinger

Ken Oplinger

Regional Non-Profit Executive
1,826 votes (16.38%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Economic Development - Bringing new jobs to Oxnard through marketing the community and an overhaul of the Planning/Permitting Department.
  • Core Infrastructure - Ensuring we have a long-term plan for how to repair and replace all core infrastructure in the City. This includes ensuring adequate funding for the plan.
  • Leadership - We need empathic leadership that can work with constituents, staff and elected colleagues to create a truly 21st Century city.



Profession:Regional Non-Profit Executive
Board Chair, Santa Barbara County Workforce Development Board — Appointed position (2015–current)
City Councilmember, Blaine (WA) City Council — Elected position (2011–2013)
Planning Commission Chair, Blaine (WA) Planning Commission — Appointed position (2009–2011)
Planning Commissioner, Blaine (WA) Planning Commission — Appointed position (2006–2009)
Planning Commissioner, Visalia (CA) Planning Commission — Appointed position (2000–2003)


Willamette University BA, Political Science and Spanish (1992)


Ken Oplinger currently serves as the President/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Santa Barbara Region, where he has been since May 2013.  He has been leading Chambers of Commerce in the Western US for over 25 years.

Ken is a graduate of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where he received a BA in Political Science and Spanish.  Ken is also a graduate of the Institute for Organizational Management at UCLA.  He is a Past President of SUPERCHEX, the Chamber Executives organization representing Northern California Chamber Executives and served as the Chairman of the Board of WACE, the Western Association of Chamber Executives, in 2006.  Ken is an Accredited Chamber Executive, having received his accreditation in February 2003 from WACE, and was reaccredited in 2008 and 2013.  Ken’s leadership on the BESTT Coalition (Business for Economic Security, Tourism and Trade), a bi-national coalition of business and industry concerned about the affects of implementing the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) on the Canada/US Border, led to the creation of the Enhanced Drivers License program.

As the President of the Chamber of Commerce of the Santa Barbara Region, Ken serves as the Chief Executive Officer for a Chamber with a membership of some 900, representing over 250,000 people and over 50,000 jobs.  The Santa Barbara Region Chamber is a leader in creating a strong local economy, promoting the community, providing networking opportunities and representing the interests of business with government.

Originally from Tempe, Arizona, Ken, his wife Diana and their daughter, Rachel, live in Oxnard Shores.  Ken not only served as the President/CEO of the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry, but he also served on the Planning Commission for the City of Blaine, Washington for six years, three as the chair, and served on the Blaine City Council until returning to California.  He currently serves as the Chair of the Workforce Development Board of Santa Barbara County and the Economic Vitality Team of Santa Barbara County.  Ken has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Daryl McClelland Humanitarian Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Building Industry Association of Whatcom County in December 2010, the Russell E. Pettit Excellence in Leadership Award from WACE for his lifetime contributions to the Chamber Industry, and was named Executive of the Year by WACE in 2014.  Ken previously served as the President/CEO of the Visalia Chamber of Commerce and the Director of Governmental Affairs for the Fremont Chamber of Commerce.

In his spare time, Ken has been active in political campaigns throughout the west coast, and has worked to forge consensus on issues ranging from regional transportation spending to community development to capital projects for school districts to building stronger ties between the US and Canada.  He also works with other Chambers of Commerce around the West Coast on long range planning for their organizations. He enjoys traveling, local community events, and is now officially the biggest fan of the Seattle Sounders in Southern California.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I absolutely love where I live.

This City we call home, with some 200,000 people, has a diverse economy, an active deep water port, beautiful beaches, a commercial-capable airport, and the best outdoor mall in the region.  We should all be so proud of this community.

My name is Ken Oplinger, and I am running for City Council because it is long past time that we make Oxnard the world-class City it has every right to be. And ensure that it is seen and respected as such.

I honor those who have recently led this community to deal with the corruption and mismanagement of the past.  But the need for temporary crisis leadership is over – it is time for strong, visionary leaders who will help carry us to the future.

The 1st District deserves a Councilmember who can work to build consensus and get things done.  A Councilmember who understands the role and performs it with class and dignity.  A Councilmember who will work in partnership with the professional team we now have at City Hall – not attack them and work to publicly demean them at every turn.

I will support public safety, prioritize road and sidewalk maintenance and repair, and generally encourage the City to get back to providing outstanding core services to our community.  I will work to bring high quality jobs to the community, striving to ensure Oxnard is known as a leader in Economic Development. Strengthening our economy, thereby expanding our tax base, goes hand in hand with supporting public safety, sound infrastructure, and environmental stewardship. They have an inseparable relationship.

Most importantly, I will represent every single person in the first district, and treat everyone in our community with the respect they deserve.  I have 26 years of experience leading organizations to create positive change in communities across the Western United States.  I am excited and energized to bring my experience to the City of Oxnard, and I ask for your support and your vote on November 6th.

Let’s make Oxnard a world class City, and become the standard other cities strive to meet.

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