One On One With Brad Mitzelfelt, Part 2: The Future

By Nolan Patrick Smith

High Desert Daily

(Hesperia) In the last article, High Desert Daily spoke with San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt to talk about the legacy he feels he is leaving behind as he moves forward to the race for Congress. In this article, we talk about the future and what Mitzelfelt sees in the coming months and years.

Brad Mitzelfelt is currently the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Supervisors for San Bernardino County. According to the San Bernardino County website, the district Mitzelfelt represents includes the incorporated municipalities of Victorville, Apple Valley, Hesperia and Adelanto in the Victor Valley, as well as Needles on the Colorado River. The First District also includes unincorporated communities measuring more than 15,000 square miles from Wrightwood in the San Gabriel Mountains to Trona to Baker, four military bases and two national park units, and bordering Arizona and Nevada. With this year being his last as Supervisor, Mitzelfelt has Congress in his sights as he continues his campaign for the 8th Congressional District. Regarding the future, the first question asked is what makes him the best person to represent this district.

“I have absolutely unmatched experience when it comes to dealing with federal issues that affect the High Desert. I have sued the National Parks Service, I have sued the Bureau of Land Management, I have been fighting battles for public access to public lands to protect our ranching industry, to protect our mining industry, whether it be as Chairman of the Mojave Air Quality Management District or as Supervisor or any of the other roles that I have. I feel it is my responsibility to protect our economic future and in order to do that we have to protect the historic uses of the desert. There is a place for conservation, for recreation, for military training: we can accommodate all these uses. But when a politically popular type of development comes forward, like solar, and the federal government is ready to throw out many of the hurdles other industries have to overcome in an unsustainable way, the only long term outcome is reduced access to the desert for people who live here and the people who visit here, so I am really concerned about that. My involvement with the federal government is a daily undertaking. What I find is, everyday, I find laws like the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act; well-intentioned laws that certainly do some good, are in desperate need of reform. The agencies that implement these laws are unelected, unaccountable and very powerful, and often times very arbitrary. That impacts people, that impacts opportunity and it needs to change.”

One issue that always seems to be present in the desert is that of the Desert Tortoise. Mitzelfelt explained how though billions are being spent, the outcome of saving this species just isn’t happening. “We find that with the Desert Tortoise mitigation, they’re costing our economy hundreds of billions of dollars but they aren’t saving the tortoise: the tortoise is still going extinct. They are not addressing the root cause of its decline, which is ravens and coyotes. Because its philosophical and political that they won’t address predation, all they want to do is limit access to land and acquire all the private land they can: that’s a bad formula for us, people who live and work in the desert because it takes away our opportunities. So I will address those things.”

Another aspect Mitzelfelt made clear was the intention of staying proactive, just as he has been as Supervisor. “My approach again is to be proactive, to find ways to be a leader. I don’t want to go to Washington and wait for thirty years to have influence. I don’t want to go there for thirty years, quite frankly. I hope I’m not doing this in thirty years, because I want to enjoy my life. I look at the example of Kevin McCarthy from Bakersfield. He has only been there for a few terms, and he is the number 3 or 4 most senior member of Congress as far as his position. He’s proven that it can be done; you can achieve opportunities to serve at a higher level and to be more effective for your district or for your state even if you haven’t been there for twenty years. That would be my intention from day one, to get into positions on the committees where I can do the most good for the people I represent. I’m running not for myself, but for the people I represent. I could have probably very easily been reelected for another term on the board of supervisors, but I feel I owe it to the people I represent to find the best opportunity to serve them, and that’s why I chose to run.”

What about the far future? Passed the Congressional campaign, what are his plans for the future? “I dedicated my adult life to public service for the most part. I’m a veteran of the Marine Corp, I worked in local and state government, and my goal is to serve in Congress and be the best representative that San Bernardino County has ever had. Other than that, there are a lot of things I could do and am interested in. Eventually I would love to write and publish some works. Other than that, I am interested in business; I am very interested in the financial and development sectors. I worked in the building industry for several years, and I have a lot of interests, but I don’t really have a plan other than to run for Congress and be elected. I didn’t plan to ever be a Supervisor either: the opportunity presented itself. I like to work that way, not put all my eggs in one basket.”

For more information on Mitzelfelt’s campaign for U.S. Congress, visit his website at

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