Raul Escareno is a business owner, father and people person. That’s how he described himself before noting his own troubled past in an interview with San Benito Live.
“Back then, I guess you could say I covered a lot of the basics,” Escareno said. “It was a different economical struggle that I went through as a child, and as a pre-teen. I made a lot of bad choices in life, was able to overcome all that. But I think that makes me a good candidate because I was able to change my life so I’m able to help people change theirs, be a good role model for kids.”
Escareno, 30, didn’t touch on the issue specifically in an open-ended interview in which candidates were all asked the same questions, but he has four driving under the influence convictions on his record and finished a 300-day sentence in late June for felony DUI with three prior convictions. He is currently serving three years of probation after his most recent DUI arrest in February 2017 in the Santa Cruz area.
“You can’t tell somebody what it’s like to get up after you’ve fallen unless you’ve fallen yourself,” he went on.
Escareno discussed his troubles with the law when asked about his background, but he also mentioned being a business owner of Mangia’s Italian Kitchen.
“I know money,” he said. “I have to deal with money here all the time at the restaurant. It’s just really knowing what to do when you’re on a tight budget. There’s good months and there’s bad months. There’s great days and there’s horrific days. You’ve got to act on the moment.”
Here is the full video interview with Escareno. Story continues below.
He said he’s a well-rounded guy, an average Joe.
“Come in. Talk to me,” he said. “Hang out. Have a cup of Joe. Enjoy great pasta, and relax.”
He was motivated to run by supporters and his family.
“I kept seeing people coming in here asking me, ‘Why aren’t you running? Why aren’t you running?’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t know.’ I had one fear. The fear was making a decision that somebody wouldn’t see it the right way and then taking it out on the restaurant. Like saying, ‘Screw that. We’re not going there.’
Then he started thinking about his family, he said.
“My motivation started becoming my kids,” he said. “I have a 15-year old. I have a 5-year-old. I have a 10-month-old. I have a two-month-old in the tummy. I looked around and I said, ‘The schools aren’t as great as I want them to be. The roads are horrific at times.”
He said it’s an “epic time” for change in Hollister and looked at the camera.
“So my motivation was you, the people,” he said.
Escareno has been known to communicate with people on social media, particularly sharing his view that growth is out of control.
“I don’t have a problem with growth,” he said. “As a business owner, you want growth. At the moment it’s been out of control to the point where it’s affecting my business. And I’m sure it’s affecting other restaurants and other businesses.”
He said he has nothing against other people.
“I love everybody,” he said. “Come eat at Mangia’s. I love you even more.”
He said if elected, it’s his job to listen to the people.
“I think it’s my job if elected to listen to the people,” Escareno said. “I’m not up there for myself. I’m not up there for personal gain.”
He also said he would like to see some sort of recreation center for youths.
“Win or lose, I would love to be there and help out those kids who are having a tough time,” he said.
Name: Raul Escareno
Occupation: Owner of Mangia’s Italian Kitchen
Political Experience: None