Politics & Government

Clinton secures backing of several Valley leaders

As Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton prepares to visit Fresno for a rally this week, her campaign Saturday announced endorsements from 55 party leaders from the Central Valley, including 41 current and former elected officials.

About a dozen of the supporters on the list -- including Fresno City Council Member Cynthia Sterling and former Fresno Mayor Karen Humphrey -- appeared at a news conference Saturday at the Eaton Plaza Amphitheater in downtown Fresno.

"Our area has the highest concentration of poverty, and yet we are the place that feeds the world," Sterling said. "Sen. Clinton will be a champion for our area in bringing the necessary resources to sustain a healthy agriculture economy."

Assembly Member Juan Arambula -- the highest-ranking official in the Valley who has joined Clinton's camp -- was out of town Saturday for his son's wedding.

In a prepared statement, Arambula said he was looking at Clinton to lead the nation "in a direction of hope, change and prosperity."

Mike Trujillo, field director for Clinton's California campaign, said Clinton will fly into Fresno early Monday and is expected to make her appearance at Fresno High School about 9 a.m., or perhaps a little later.

Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers, and Arambula are scheduled to join her, Trujillo said.

Clinton is expected to be on the campus for less than an hour, he said.

The campaign is gearing up for a crowd of about 1,000, and parking will be made available off McKinley Avenue in the football practice field.

The event will be free, and the public is being encouraged to arrive between 7:30 and 8 a.m.

Tickets for the event can be picked up today at the local Democratic Headquarters at 255 N. Fulton St. in downtown Fresno, but Trujillo said tickets will not be necessary to attend. Tickets are being issued just so organizers can get a feel for about how many people to expect, he said.

Fresno police Capt. Greg Garner said that the Clinton campaign staff will close half of Echo Avenue in front of Fresno High School beginning about 6 p.m. today, and that the entire street will be closed beginning at 6 a.m. Monday.

In addition to Sterling, other current Fresno City Council members endorsing Clinton are Henry T. Perea and Blong Xiong.

Current elected officials who have given their endorsement include Mayors Terry McKittrick of Dinuba, Ramon Dominguez of Huron, Trinidad Rodriguez of Kerman, Joseph Riofrio of Mendota, Victor Lopez of Orange Cove, and Armando Lopez of Parlier.