Johnny Leiva Badilla, industrial engineer and entrepreneur, age 37, was born in Liberia, where he currently resides. He received a master’s degree in business administration from the Latin University of de Costa Rica and studied English as a second language at the University of Boston in the United States.
Currently he runs his own real estate development company. He said he has not held any public office and this is the first time he has gotten involved in politics.
His vision of Guanacaste focuses on the importance of education for the needy, and he said that this education should be consistent with the demand for technology, research, art and creativity. “Education is the primary means by which social mobility can be produced in the province of Guanacaste,” he explained. “These days, those who are better educated have more possibilities and those who most need better education are the ones who have less possibilities.”
Regarding tourism, he said, “We need to develop through INA a kind of hotel academy where students learn by doing… where the students themselves operate the hotel where they can make beds, be bar tenders, receptionists, etc.”
He referred to an energy reform that allows local businesses to produce their own energy, either for agricultural or industrial development. “We need an energy reform for Guanacaste since this this is where most energy is produced, be it wind, solar, geothermal or hydroelectric energy. Therefore we need private enterprises to produce their own energy. This would revitalize the agricultural segment in the sense of producing raw materials for generating electricity and fuels such as sugar cane pulp, rice husks and a handful of other products.” Leiva puts a lot of emphasis on protecting the environment and in terms of energy he said he is interested in turning Guanacaste into a carbon-neutral province. “Energy reform is the center of everything because it is linked with everything, including the environment aspect. We can make the province carbon-neutral since the energy generated is through renewable sources,” he explained.