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El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells Announces Candidacy for 51st Congressional Seat

El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells warned against the
El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells. Photo by Chris Stone

El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells Wednesday announced his candidacy for California’s 51st Congressional District, currently represented by Rep. Sara Jacobs.

The district covers much of San Diego north of Interstate 8 and east of I-805 and the cities of El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove.

“I have spent my entire life serving this community, and I am eager to bring that same level of dedication and passion to Congress,” Wells said. “The residents of the 51st Congressional District deserve a representative who will fight tirelessly to strengthen our economy and our national security and I am committed to being that representative.”

Wells, a Republican, has been the mayor of El Cajon since 2013 and began his public service in 2004 as a planning commissioner. He was elected to the City Council in 2008.

“I am running for Congress because I believe that our country needs bold, assertive leadership,” he said. “Urgent action is needed to address the catastrophe of homelessness and the untreated mentally ill, the systematic degradation of the American dream, violence on our streets, and the suicidal border policies of the Biden administration.”

Last September, Wells made news by accusing the San Diego County government of “dumping” homeless people in his community’s motels, a claim county officials said was misinformed and harmful.

Wells and City Manager Graham Mitchell held a news conference in front of a motel in El Cajon to describe changes in local calls for public safety services. They said the increase in calls to police and Emergency Medical Services was how the city first learned of what they claimed was an increase in motel voucher program usage.

Then-chair of the County Board of Supervisors Nathan Fletcher hit back at the accusation.

“Mayor Bill Wells and the city of El Cajon want to push them back onto the streets. The public expects us to take action and El Cajon is playing a tired old blame game that does nothing to address the problem of homelessness in our region,” Fletcher said.

Wells said the East County was disproportionately targeted.

“It is very frustrating that the county never bothered to let us know about using El Cajon’s motels as homeless shelters,” Wells said. “I wonder if El Cajon is the only city the county dumps its homeless in or are they equally distributed in places like Del Mar and La Jolla?”

Wells grew up in the 51st District, attending elementary through college at schools in the district, he said. He and his wife, Bettie, have three children and four grandchildren.

Wells is also a musician who has raised money for causes such as the East County Transitional Living Center and the Home of Guiding Hands through benefit concerts.

–City News Service

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