What’s missing in most government representation these days is actual representation of the citizens. The city of Fresno, CA is fortunate to have a councilman who works on behalf of its residents. And now, Councilman Clint Olivier, a Republican, is running for State Assembly. But what makes his race so interesting is he announced his Assembly run early to replace Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno. However, complicating issues, Perea just announced last week he is resigning office effective December 31.
There will be a Special Election to fill out the remaining months of Perea’s term, likely to be held in early April, if all goes well.
“If Olivier’s name isn’t familiar, be thankful,” I wrote in June. “He’s not the son of a politician. He’s not from Hollywood. He didn’t get independently wealthy as a hedge-fund manager on oil and coal investments. He hasn’t sold rocket launchers to Filipino Muslim separatists, or offered bribes to FBI agents.”
Assemblyman Perea shook up the race for his seat as he announced his resignation last week to head for a lucrative lobbying job. The two previously announced contenders for the Assembly seat are Fresno City Councilman Clint Olivier and Dr. Joaquin Arambula, son of former Assemblyman Juan Arambula, a Democrat.
While the Assembly district has elected Democrats in recent years, the entire area has also elected Republican State Senator Andy Vidak, Republican Congressman David Valadeo, and Republican Senator Anthony Cannella.
A Republican campaign consultant I spoke with said this is a tremendous opportunity for Republicans to take the Assembly seat, and Olivier should have the support of the California Republican Party, as well as the Legislative Republican Caucas. However, the consultant said neither has stepped up yet.
There are plenty of speculations surrounding Perea’s surprise resignation. We won’t go into these at this time, but local stories abound about Perea’s disengagement from the needs of the district.
What makes Olivier stand out?
Clint Olivier is a member of the Fresno, California City Council, representing District 7, first elected to the council in 2010, and a former television news reporter. He’s married and has two kids, lives in a small house, drives a seven-year old Chrysler, and makes $60,000 in his city council job.
And he works hard to solve problems for constituents, which is very refreshing.
Following a serious gas line break at a 1,500 apartment complex in his district, Oliver said, “This is an opportunity for us to say no more, we’re going to take good care of them, we’re not going to bounce them around and we’re going to make sure that their needs are met,” Fresno City Councilmember Clint Olivier said. “Because that’s what we’re about here in Fresno, and in California, and in the United States.”
The pro-business Fresno Chamber of Commerce recently released its 2014 report card of local elected officials and their business-related votes; on the Fresno City Council, Clint Olivier was the only member to achieve a perfect score.
Olivier said people desperately want and need economic activity in the central part of the state. “We’ve lost too many employers – Bimbo Bakeries, Gottshalks, and now Vons grocery store is closing,” Olivier said. “I have a reputation for fighting for neighborhoods,” Olivier said.
Olivier said in an interview one of the biggest crises since the possibility of bankruptcy five years ago, is the damage done to Fresno by the homeless.“It’s out of control,” Olivier said. “They have overrun nearly every park, along with hundreds of street corners and shopping centers. The trash and vandalism they leave in their wake are costing residents and business owners hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in cleanup fees and repairs each year. Complaint calls are lighting up city switchboards, but thus far, City Hall has refused to respond in any meaningful way,” he told the Fresno Bee.
Prior to running for Fresno City Council, Olivier worked as a television news reporter. Olivier worked as a reporter, investigating and exposing government waste and abuse for Central Valley viewers on ABC 30 and KMPH FOX 26. And, Olivier served in the Marine Reserves during peacetime as an air support radioman, 1994 to 1998.
Olivier, who lives in South Central Fresno, said his great heart for public service is evident. “I want to win because I’ve been working for these people for years; first as a news reporter in Mendota during the drought, and Kingsburg. It’s all near and dear to me,” Olivier added.
“The state has set up businesses to fail, and young kids to fail,” Olivier said. “Republicans and Democrats should get behind policies to get government out of the way. These kinds of things resonate with people.”