Guillermo "Willie" Durazo: Feels he understands federal government inside and out

March 01, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CHULA VISTA — Republican congressional candidate Guillermo "Willie" Durazo knows the newly aligned 51st District.

"If anyone understands that valley well it's me. I've lived there and worked there," he said of the Imperial Valley.

Durazo lived in El Centro and worked in Calexico from 1978-80 when he worked for the U.S. Customs Service. He's lived in Chula Vista since and runs his business there, Dugazo, Inc., a government contractor specializing in security, construction and groundskeeping.

In addition to his knowledge of the two counties, Durazo said he is familiar with Mexican politics, economics of the border and the Washington, D.C., beltway.

He said he is often flying back and forth from Washington on business trips since his company does a good amount of business with the U.S. government.


"I've been working for the government for all these years," he said referring to stints with the U.S. Army, U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Customs and his contract work. I understand the federal government inside and out. I see where the mistakes are made. I have a unique insight into what is going in," he said.

Talking about his experience working with Mexican politicians, Durazo said he lobbied Mexican congressman in the mid-1990s to allow line-fishing in an area of the Sea of Cortez near Loreto that had been tagged for closure by environmentalists.

"They were going to chase all the sportsfisherman out," he said Thursday.

Durazo said, "Duke Cunningham (congressman from Escondido) got a hold of me because I had introduced him to some Mexican congressman a while back. They asked me to move on their behalf."

After flying to Mexico City, Durazo meet with Mexican legislators.

"We told them about all of the hook-and-release people that fish there," he said.

The area was kept open for hook-and-line fisherman, including Durazo.

He's never landed a marlin but he has hooked a 180-pound sailfish.

"My son (Guillermo Durazo Jr.) is the only one who got a marlin," he said.

When he's not fishing or working, Durazo is active within the Republican Party.

"One thing no one has mentioned is my political background. I was on the Republican National Committee's San Diego County Central Committee," he said.

The committee is an elected group of representatives from various precincts. Durazo was appointed.

Talking about the Imperial Valley issues he'd tackle once elected, he said, "Pollution coming across the border. I can effectively deal with that."

Asked how, he said, "I'd talk to the Mexican government and say ‘Hey what's happening in Calexico is happening in Mexico.'"

Power companies are building power plants in Mexicali that will pollute the airshed of the conjoined valleys, according to Imperial County officials.

Recently, Bob Filner, the Democratic incumbent in the 51st District, has opposed the construction of a natural gas line that would fuel the power plants because of those pollution concerns even though the electricity produced at those plants would be sent to his South Bay San Diego constituents.

Durazo said he does not oppose the pipeline even though he does think something should be done about the pollution.

"We're energy and power starved! That's why you build coalitions. What are we going to do without it (the pipeline.) I would look for concessions and focus on coalition building to deal with the pollution," he said.

Durazo's father, Guillermo Durazo Sr., was born in El Centro, moved to Chula Vista when he was young and married a woman from Sinaloa, Mexico.

Durazo joined the Army out of high school. After spending almost a year in riot-torn Germany, Durazo transferred to Vietnam.

Upon returning home and a stint at the University of Utah, "I transferred from the U of U to University of San Diego.

"I never made it though. I met my wife (Joy)."

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached 337-3419 or

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