Politics & Government

Anderson seeks 3rd term on board

Fresno County Supervisor Susan Anderson made it official Thursday: She's running for re-election next year.

Anderson -- the two-term incumbent who represents District 2 -- made the formal announcement at the Hallowell River House, which is part of the San Joaquin River Parkway. Backed by about 40 supporters, Anderson said she is proud of her record and looking forward to the campaign.

"My passion is not about being a politician, but it is about service to the people of this county," she said.

Anderson, 55, pointed to her experience and accomplishments during more than 20 years of service as a deputy district attorney in juvenile court, the county clerk and a member of the Board of Supervisors.

As a supervisor, Anderson said, she hasn't missed a meeting in the past seven years. She said her votes and leadership have made a difference.

In part, she cited her work to help replace the old "Hall of Shame" juvenile hall with a state-of-the-art complex and her efforts to help create an enterprise zone to help existing and future businesses.

She noted that issues faced by board members range from trying to balance a mammoth budget to addressing a homeowner's drainage problems. Anderson said she voted against this year's $1.74 billion budget -- the first time in her seven years on the board.

While the county has some tough financial problems, Anderson said, she's "committed to working with my colleagues on the board to try to find solutions as we move through this year and future years."

Anderson has competition to keep her job in the district, which includes parts of north Fresno, Clovis, much of the river parkway and unincorporated areas. The election is in June.

The field of candidates so far includes Fresno City Council Member Brian Calhoun, who can't seek re-election because of term limits, and certified public accountant Paul Dictos, who has formed an exploratory committee.

Anderson and Calhoun already have traded some political barbs, with Calhoun criticizing her accessibility and financial oversight. Anderson has pointed out his drunken-driving conviction in 2004.

Dictos has expressed alarm over the county's financial condition.

Anderson, who was unopposed in the 2004 race, said she would welcome debate with her opponents. She said she plans to run a spirited campaign.

The official filing period for the race doesn't open for more than three months. Anderson noted that California's presidential primary likely will dominate the political landscape for several months.

Tom Holyoke, an assistant professor of political science at Fresno State, agreed that the Feb. 5 presidential primary "is going to suck up a lot of the political oxygen around here."

That will make it tougher for local candidates to get their messages across to voters, he said. It also helps explain an early start to the June election season.