First African American woman appointed to Bakersfield Planning Commission

April 21, 2022 /

On Wednesday evening, Councilmember Eric Arias and the Bakersfield City Council confirmed Candace Neal as the first African American woman to the Bakersfield Planning Commission to serve on behalf of Ward 1.

The Ward 1 Planning Commission seat became vacant on April 7, 2022 and Neal received a 6-0 vote by council members to be appointed.

“After a thorough review of all applications, it was with tremendous pride that I nominate Candace Neal to become the next Planning Commissioner for the City of Bakersfield representing Ward 1. Upon confirmation from the City Council, Ms. Neal would make history as the first ever African American woman to serve in this capacity,” stated Councilmember Eric Arias, who nominated Neal for the position. “With her extensive education and background in building, construction and contracts coupled with her fervent passion to serve the community, I know that Candace will serve well on the Bakersfield Planning Commission.”

Neal, a graduate from the Berkeley School of Law, has worked for various prestigious law firms throughout the State of California. Since returning home to Bakersfield to raise her young boy, she has helped serve 60 client school districts in business and construction law as the Senior Associate Counsel for the Kern County Superintendent of Schools.

Additionally, Neal is also a member of the Kern County BAR Association, a mentor for aspiring law students on the Pre-Law Advisory Committee at CSU Bakersfield and is a proud member of the Statewide Advisory Committee on Black Maternal and Infant Health.

“I am endlessly delighted to serve on the City of Bakersfield Planning Commission/Board. My love for real estate, love for Bakersfield and love for leveraging my education and professional experience to serve my community make this appointment the perfect fit. My appointment is also an historic moment for our City worthy of due recognition and celebration as I believe that I am the first African American woman to serve on the Board,” said Neal. “It is my intention and tremendous honor to make sure that our communities are adequately represented and not forgotten as we continue to move full steam ahead!”