Fresno

Can chamber exec Nathan Alonzo become fifth Latino on Fresno City Council?

Nathan Alonzo announced his candidacy for the Fresno City Council on April 3.
Nathan Alonzo announced his candidacy for the Fresno City Council on April 3. jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com

Nathan Alonzo – the 26-year-old son of Mexican immigrants who settled in Firebaugh – is now seeking to replacet a termed-out District 4 member of the Fresno City Council.

The Fresno Chamber of Commerce vice president of government affairs announced his bid at the Smittcamp Family House on the Fresno State campus on April 3 while flanked by a bevy of community leaders supporting his effort to succeed Councilmember Paul Caprioglio.

“By every measure, I shouldn’t be here today,” said Alonzo, who changed his party registration from Republican to No Party Preference. “My family came to America without knowing a a word of English, with no documents or dollars to their name.”

Alonzo, who graduated from Fresno State, said Fresno has the potential to improve.

“Forty years ago, my parents saw in America what I see in Fresno today: Opportunity,” he said.

Now that California’s fifth-largest city has recovered from the Great Recession, Alonzo said it is time to look forward.

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Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims and Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer were among those who endorsed Nathan Alonzo's bid for the Fresno City Council. JUAN ESPARZA LOERA jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com

“Fresno is a city in transition. Now we have to take it from surviving to thriving,” he said. “Fresno is a big city with complicated problems. We will provide solutions, not sound bites.”

Alonzo said his priorities will be to make sure the police and fire departments have adequate resources. “A safe city is a strong city,” he said.

He also emphasized the need for more green space, and vowed to become the “No. 1 job recruiter” on the city council.

Only one other person has expressed interest in the east-central district: Tyler Maxwell, the public safety director on Fresno City Councilmember Nelson Esparza’s staff.

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JUAN ESPARZA LOERA

If he wins, Alonzo would become the fifth Latino on the seven-member council. However, he would be the only Latino who isn’t a Democrat.

Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district 40 percent to 26 percent, but independents (26 percent) will help determine the winner.

Alonzo has won the support of Caprioglio, a Democrat.

“He is the right person to lead District 4,” said Caprioglio. “I am giving 110 percent commitment in my endorsement.”

Caprioglio called Alonzo “uniquely qualified. He really understands politics.”

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JUAN ESPARZA LOERA

Alonzo also has the endorsement of Fresno Mayor Lee Brand, who backed two losing candidates (Tate Hill and Brian Whelan) in last year’s election. The city council is a non-partisan office.

“He’s got to also be someone who’s got the wherewithal and the grit to stand up to a tough city council,” said Brand. “I will need every ally I can get to implement my vision.”

Maxwell, in an interview with GV Wire, welcomed Alonzo’s candidacy.

“I welcome any District 4 residents into the race and look forward to a thorough debate on the issues impacting our neighborhoods.,” he said.

“The announcement and endorsements today were not a surprise to anyone familiar with local politics. What people can expect from me is to combat the status quo that has held this city back generation after generation, and to offer a new voice and new solutions to our working-class families and local businesses.”

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