published on January 3, 2017 - 5:27 AM
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Mayor-elect Lee Brand took his official oath of office Tuesday morning in the Fresno Council Chamber lobby.


“For me this is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Brand said of being able to serve Fresno as mayor. “I’m happy to be here and I’m looking forward to the many challenges ahead. I see a lot of great things happening in Fresno and I have a great team behind me.”

After being sworn in by City Clerk Yvonne Spence, Brand spoke about some of the objectives he hopes to accomplish as mayor. Out of the gate, Brand said his administration plans to approach the council about establishing an effective rental housing inspection program. Creating and implementing a community public safety advisory board is also at the top of Brand’s list.

Economically, Brand said he plans to continue efforts toward job creation and economic expansion with business-friendly policies put in place by Mayor Ashley Swearengin and her predecessors.

“The economic expansion plan is a blueprint for job growth to bring thousands of jobs to Fresno,” Brand said. “The recent interest from Ulta and Amazon to consider e-commerce here is a direct result of performance-based economic expansion. It’s a very progressive, smart way to grow jobs but we need to advertise that so we’re working on branding and marketing to get the word out across the country to the business world that Fresno is business friendly.

“Fresno is welcoming businesses here whether they be a large business like Amazon or the guy across the street who wants to open a sandwich shop. We’re going to try to make business easy for everyone.”

Brand said Fresno has many attributes that make it a great city for business.

“I think we have a great workforce, we’re an improving economy and an improving city and we’re taking pride in what we’re doing,” Brand said. “Fresno is among the top 25 in job creation so we must be doing something right that both small businesses and large businesses like Amazon, Nordstrom and Ulta all consider Fresno as a potential site, and this is only the beginning. After four or eight years, I want to see Fresno under 10 percent unemployment continually. If we can do that, we can transform this economy.”

Brand’s public inauguration ceremony will take place 10 a.m. Thursday at the start of the city council meeting. District 5 city councilmember-elect Luis Chavez will also be sworn in Thursday. District 6 city councilmember-elect Garry Bredefeld was sworn in Tuesday morning.

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