Lee Brand file photo
Written by Gabriel Dillard
Lee Brand announced today that he won’t seek a second term as Fresno’s mayor.
Brand went on the Ray Appleton Show on KMJ AM 580 on Monday afternoon to make the announcement.
He said the decision was a personal one between him and his family. It had nothing to do with the upcoming 2020 race, where Andrew Janz has announced his intention to run. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer also today announced his interest in running.
Dyer said he would make an announcement in the next few weeks.
Luis Chavez, current councilmember, is also reportedly in the running.
Brand said he has served upwards of 17 years for the City of Fresno, as a planning commissioner, city councilmember then Mayor starting in 2017.
Brand said he wants to engage in business opportunities and travel.
Brand came into city government in the midst of the economic downturn with the reputation as a numbers guys. He helped enact policies that have led to the city’s current fiscal solvency. It has $34 million in reserve.
In the final year and a half in his tenure, Brand wants to achieve his goal of creating 10,000 jobs. His administration lured Amazon and Ulta e-commerce distribution centers to town, helping take him to meeting half of his goal with 5,000 jobs.
In addition to hiring a new new police chief when Dyer steps down later this year, Brand would like to focus on initiatives to address the homeless problem and human trafficking.
He said today’s announcement is “two tons off my back,” freeing him to pursue his policies.
“It will be pedal to the metal until the last day I leave city hall,” he said.
He released the following statement:
“Last month, I turned 70 years old and the occasion caused me to reflect on my life, my career and my time as your Mayor. As a result of this self-reflection, I had an open and honest discussion with my family about seeking a second term. The overwhelming consensus was that it was time I move on. My wife wants to travel and I want to spend more time with my grandchildren.
“Therefore, I have decided to announce that I will not run for a second term as Mayor of Fresno.
“I have a little over 19 months left to complete my term and my vision remains constant: create economic prosperity for our City, improve public safety, improve the quality of life for all and unify Fresno. For my remaining time in office, I will stay focused on moving that vision forward.
“The people of Fresno and their needs are more important than my political plans. Not running for a second term will allow me to devote my full attention to moving this City forward. Running for a second term as Mayor would consume time and energy that is better used to achieve my vision.
“Not having the burden of re-election gives me the freedom to devote all of my energy to improving our community. I will keep the ‘pedal to the metal’ until my last day in office.
“For the past 18 years, I have served this City, as a planning commissioner, City Councilmember and Mayor and I have no regrets. I love Fresno and its people and I’m forever grateful to have the opportunity to serve as Mayor of this great City.
“I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to my family, the incredible employees of the City of Fresno and all those who have supported my vision and stood beside me as we worked toward a better Fresno. I ask you to join my quest to finish strong over the next 19 months. Thank you!”