The best representatives of “we the people” work hard, thoroughly research issues, and communicate clearly with a broad array of constituents – not just a favored few – to ascertain their wishes and concerns.
The next step is to gather all this information and formulate a strategy that will result in political success benefiting the representative’s district and, in the case of a city council member, the entire city as well.
In a city as big as Fresno, with a population surging past 520,000, this is a tall task. The city council member must be compassionate, willing to meet with and listen to diverse groups of people, and possess the courage to make tough decisions in the face of overwhelming political pressure.
There will be big shoes to fill in Fresno City Council District 6, where the terming-out Lee Brand, a mayoral candidate, has set a high bar for community stewardship, fact-gathering and forging political consensus on some of our city’s most pressing challenges.
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Fortunately for northeast Fresno residents, there is someone who is ready to hit the ground running as Brand’s replacement. That candidate is Garry Bredefeld, who represented the district from 1997 through 2000.
We are recommending him to District 6 voters on a ballot that includes three other candidates: communications/public relations business owner Holly Carter, business owner and Elvis tribute artist Jeremy Pearce, and student Carter Pope II.
Bredefeld, who largely has been absent from politics since his time on the council, has deep roots in Fresno and a long history of community involvement.
The holder of a doctorate in clinical psychology, he has his own practice and since 1992 has treated veterans at the Fresno VA. He also is a former Navy lieutenant, having served for three years after obtaining his advanced degree from the California School of Professional Psychology.
His is an impressive resume – one buttressed by a solid track record during his term on the city council.
During an era in which City Hall routinely kowtowed to developers’ wishes, Bredefeld stood firmly against unbridled growth and was one of the few voices pointing out that the Fresno economy was overly dependent on subdivision sprawl.
Bredefeld, too, was among the leaders in getting Chukchansi Park built, a facility that hosts the Fresno Grizzlies baseball team and is among the cornerstones of downtown revitalization.
And he pushed for the northeast Fresno police substation, which was constructed in 2003 after Bredefeld left office.
In his campaign, Bredefeld has emphasized strengthening the police and fire departments, and says that he will push the police department to return to community policing.
Among all the candidates, he best understands economic development, the importance of elevating the city’s quality of life, and the nuances of building council consensus on vital issues.
District 6 would be in good hands with Bredefeld as its representative.
June 7 primary election reminders
Last day to register to vote: May 23
Last day to file application to request vote-by-mail ballot by mail: May 31
The Bee’s Voter Guide can be accessed at fresnobee.com beginning Tuesday, May 10