If Patrick Tucker gets elected to the Fountain Valley City Council this year, he'll have an anonymous janitor somewhere to thank.
The vice president of operations for Allen Tire Co., who started his career at a tire store in Florida, decided to relocate to California in 1987 when he drove through on vacation. At one point, he stopped at an Allen outlet out of curiosity, and he found himself taken aback by how well-maintained it was.
"As far as tire stores, Allen stores are some of the cleanest," Tucker said Tuesday in his upstairs office as mechanics bustled down below.
That's Tucker's business approach, in short: pragmatic and efficient with an attention to detail. And it's the style he hopes to bring to the council in November.
For Tucker, who ran unsuccessfully in 2010 and served on the Planning Commission for the 2011-12 fiscal year, there's no greater résumé for a local politician than the private sector. He opposes career politicians and said he was inspired to run two years ago because he felt the ballot had too many incumbents.
As vice president of Allen, Tucker oversees hiring, employee safety, training, customer service, facilities repair and more. He said he would bring a similar bottom-line approach to the council, opposing most tax increases and making sure the city got the maximum results for each dollar spent.
It was the private sector, indeed, that gave Tucker a needed cushion after he graduated from high school in Pennsylvania. One of seven sons in a family of 15 children, he lacked the money to go to college and instead made his way to Florida in search of a warmer climate and job opportunities. There, he landed a position in the tire industry.
After moving to California, Tucker ultimately settled in Fountain Valley in 1994. In addition to working with Allen, he's made a mark on the community in multiple ways: as a board member for Fountain Valley High School's baseball team, which his son belonged to for years, and as a financial supporter of the Special Olympics Tip-a-Cop and the Taste of Fountain Valley benefit for school programs.
"I have a theory that if kids have to be involved with something, it's better arts and music than sex and drugs," said Tucker, whose wife, Bonnie, teaches second grade at Tamura Elementary School in the Fountain Valley School District.
As a candidate, Tucker has run a relatively low-key campaign, knocking on some doors but doing most of his outreach through social media and appearances at social functions. A recent posting on Facebook urged supporters to make a grassroots show of support: "I have a HUGE favor to ask...Please get window paint and paint 'Pat Tucker for FV City Council' on the rear window of your cars."
One who has declined to paint his car, but is endorsing Tucker nonetheless, is Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem Devin Dwyer. A longtime friend of the candidate, Dwyer said he considers himself a fellow "car guy" and stops by Allen to have his tires changed.
"We have talked politics over the years and found that we have the same conservative grounding," Dwyer wrote in an email. "He has also spent time on the Planning Commission as I did, and he has a good grasp for Fountain Valley's issues."