Kings County DA up against former foe in bid for second term

District Attorney Candidate Keith Fagundes
District Attorney Candidate Keith Fagundes

As a service to our readers, we’ve asked various candidates for a variety of county-wide offices to respond to a set of what we believe are relevant questions. We think it is the public’s right to know the backgrounds and thoughts of those who intend to serve the citizens of Kings County and Lemoore. Fagundes is running against Greg Strickland, the former district attorney whom he defeated in 2014.

Can you give me your full name and age and marital status, children?

I am married to Renea (Pires) Fagundes, who is a successful educator and Principal of P.W. Engvall Elementary School in Lemoore.  We have been married for 23 years this July of 2018.  We have two daughters, Emily (14) and Gracie (11).

Where are you from originally? Schools attended, including high school, college, post-graduate law degrees, etc.?

I was born and raised in Kings County, and I have dedicated my professional career and personal life to public service in many forms. (See associations and group memberships on resume). (See Resume attached for work history and references).

I attended local schools (Hanford High, College of the Sequoias, West Hills), achieved a BA Degree from Fresno Pacific University, and attended San Joaquin College of Law in Fresno, CA. 

I have owned and operated many businesses, which includes auto detailing, property management, and a legal practice. Through my volunteer work with my church, I also manage multi-million-dollar budgets.

Your career, including your jobs? How long have you been an elected official? Elected when, how many times, and where? Jobs you’ve held, other vocations?

I have been a prosecutor and litigator for nearly 20 years, and I have prosecuted nearly every type of criminal case that exists.  I have a distinguished legal career that includes numerous jury trials and public safety relationships.  As a result, my candidacy is endorsed by Congressman David Valadao, Senator Andy Vidak, Sheriff David Robinson, ALL police officer associations in Kings County, and multiple state-wide associations such as California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the California Narcotics Officers Association, and Peace Officers Research Association of California.  I have also been endorsed by many local teachers/educators, farmers, business owners, and many other citizens who care about public safety in Kings County. 

For the past three years as your Elected District Attorney, I have lead the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, which includes more than 60 employees.  We have been fiscally prudent and spent the public's money carefully and wisely.  We have been good stewards of the public trust.  We have increased our protection of victims of crime; we have increased local law enforcement’s confidence in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office, and we have restored the public’s trust in ethical and fair prosecutions of those who have committed criminal acts.         

Why are you running for the district attorney’s position (again)?

I am running for re-election because of the positive impact our district attorney team has had on our community during the past three years.  We instituted the District Attorney’s Victim-Witness Assistance program. We implemented digital case processing for all law enforcement agencies and the Superior Court. We improved prosecutions with a readily accessible paperless case management system. We created a leadership team to ensure community and victim-oriented collaboration, and we increased skill among attorneys, investigators, and support staff.  We have also ensured personal prosecutor appearance for ALL parole hearings for violent criminals, and we expanded public outreach and education by conducting UNPRECEDENTED public outreach programs to bring awareness to:

Domestic Violence, Teen Dating Violence, Child Gun Safety, Elder Abuse,

Human Trafficking, Gangs, Child Abduction, Active Shooter Response,

K-9 Narcotics Investigation, Intoxicated Driving, and much more!

I would like to continue to improve the Kings County District Attorney’s Office for another four years.

Achievements? Awards or honors?

2007 Hanford Optimists Club – Public Safety Award

2008 Kings County Employee of The Quarter

2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017 Lemoore High School Every 15-minutes Appreciation Awards

2018 Kings Partnership for Prevention Victims’ Service Award.

What in your opinion are the major issues facing Kings County residents now and in the future? What must be done to ensure Kings County is successful and meets the demands of the next few years?

The biggest issue facing Kings County is Public Safety.  Water is, of course, another major issue; however, all the water the world won’t make people safe. If we don’t return to having respect and taking responsibility, we will follow the path of other communities who have failed.  In terms of crime and punishment, we should provide services to those who can be rehabilitated, and we should ensure that the most dangerous people are appropriately housed.  Recent legislation and misleading propositions have changed the definition of crime to effectively exclude self-imposed conditions that are unhealthy to individuals and our community.  We, as a community, need to hold true to our community values wherein everyone has respect and is responsible for themselves and each other.  Returning to respect and responsibility is a simple concept that can allow for productive social dialogue without having an “all or nothing” approach.  We need a balanced approach to problem-solving, and that is usually the Kings County way when it comes to public safety.

Final thoughts? Is there anything you want to say that hasn’t been asked?

I would be honored and humbled to continue the good work the Kings County District Attorney team has done for ALL citizens of Kings County.  We have made great progress in three brief years, but there is more work and more improvements that need to be done.  Let’s Keep the progress going!  I would appreciate your vote on June 5, 2018.


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