Elliott Balch photo via Facebook
Written by Gabriel Dillard
Elliott Balch, chief operating officer of the Central Valley Community Foundation and a former member of Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin’s administration, has filed paperwork to run for mayor.
Balch made an announcement on Facebook Thursday.
Balch enters a field with three other candidates announced so far: Fresno City Councilmember Luis Chavez, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer and Fresno County Prosecutor Andrew Janz.
Born and raised in Fresno, Balch graduated from Edison High School and earned a bachelor’s degree at Harvard University and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago, according to his announcement.
“My family history, like that of many of our neighbors, is one of hardworking migrants, farmers, and entrepreneurs,” Balch said in his announcement. “Growing up as a middle-class ‘city kid’ here in the 1980s and 1990s, with parents who worked in local government, I learned to take pride in public service, and value ethics in the work of officials at every level.”
Balch worked for former Assemblymember Juan Arambula (D-Fresno), first on his campaign and then his staff. He went on to manage Swearengin’s Downtown Fresno’s revitalization efforts.
In 2018, Balch was an active leader in the Measure P campaign, a local sales tax hike aimed at improving parks in Fresno that failed on the ballot.
As president and CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation, Swearengin is his current boss.
Balch said he is taking this step during “a watershed moment in Fresno history.”
“I believe we face a choice between reaching forward for prosperity, or falling back in fear or inaction,” Balch said. “Following major work to reform City codes and fortify our infrastructure over the last decade, our community is out of excuses for continued disinvestment. We are halfway up the mountain, and must keep climbing to reach our prosperous potential. The good news is, in so many ways, we have the wind at our back.”