Robert Lovingood is in the business of putting people to work.
That's no metaphor: Lovingood is the president of ICR Staffing in Victorville, a staffing firm that places area residents in both temporary and full-time jobs.
"Our business today exists because of mindless regulation on the state, national and local level," Lovingood said.
And now he's putting his money where his mouth is as one of seven candidates seeking to replace Brad Mitzelfelt as the 1st District representative on the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors.
Not surprisingly, creating more jobs in the 1st District, which has more than 400,000 residents, is foremost in his mind.
"We have to get our 60,000 to 80,000 commuters off the road," Lovingood said. But he's realistic about what sort of jobs can be attracted to the region: "Apple's not coming here. Intel's not coming here. ... If we start producing electrical technicians, (high-tech) maintenance, those are jobs that are (well) paying."
And he feels the county isn't doing enough to attract new businesses to the region.
"The only way you're going to create jobs is to go find employers and embrace them," Lovingood said.
Part of the problem, he said, is the county is run by a professional class of politicians — Mitzelfelt was previously the chief of staff for his predecessor, Bill Postmus, for instance — and appointees.
"We have this trick that the government's like Oz," Lovingood said. "You throw back the curtain and it's just one of us standing there."
That caste of political professionals are too far removed from the lives of first district residents, he said.
"When we turn an opportunity into a career, that's when you make mistakes," Lovingood said. "(Politics) is not a career path."
His criticism is also applicable to most of the other six men he's running against: "They represent, collectively, over 140 years of government experience."
Instead of the standard political appointees, if elected, Lovingood would realign the 1st District's staff to create a "team of experts" based on their private sector expertise.
"I can share with you best business practices and tell you, right now, they're not being done," he said.
Two of the legacies of decades of a professional political class are wasteful spending and misguided policy, according to Lovingood.
"Chisel away at the programs that are ineffective. That's 20 percent that can be saved," he said. "We have to look at eliminating laws that hold back jobs and employment."
Lovingood believes the San Bernardino County Elected Officials Pay Reduction Act ballot initiative — which would slash future supervisors' pay and cut their budgets — will help drive off most of the professional political class, if it's approved by voters in November, and be a model for other counties as well.
"I see this as the opportunity to turn one of 58 counties around," Lovingood said.
Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.