CLOVIS, California (KSEE) – Five candidates are on the March 2 ballot to determine who will fill two seats on Clovis City Council.
Among them are two incumbents: Lynne Ashbeck and Vong Mouanoutoua. Joining them are three challengers.
Diane Pearce is a small business owner who feels being self employed gives her an edge over her opponents, especially after the pandemic’s impact on local businesses. Pearce also worked for Valley Republican Congressman George Radanovich. Pearce has also served as the president of the Fresno County & City Republican Women Federated.
“None of them are self-employed, and none of them missed a paycheck from their regular jobs,” Pearce said of her opponents. “As a small business owner myself, I thought it would be good to have some diversity of experience and a voice from the business community.”
At the other end of the political aisle, the only registered Democrat in the field, Noha Elbaz has served in leadership roles at local colleges.
“I am a lifelong educator, and I have led multi-million dollar operations and I feel like there is a real place for a diverse perspective and an educators point of view,” Elbaz said.
The incumbent, Lynne Ashbeck, highlights her long career in local government in Clovis.
“We got here because of strong, effective, proven civic leaders, and I have been proud to be one of those leaders for the last 20 years.”
The candidates also are taking on issues like public safety, education, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Public safety remains the top priority,” Pearce said.
Elbaz feels, education needs more attention within City Council
“So much of our emphasis is always looking at public safety that we tend to put education on the back burner,” Elbaz said.
All candidates agree on Clovis Unified schools returning in safe and responsible way. But all differ slightly on where they stand in reopening Clovis’ economy amid COVID-19, and what they want to immediately address if elected.
“Making sure our businesses are fully open and fully operational,” Pearce said. “That we’re welcoming people back to Clovis.”
Ashbeck wants to build upon existing city ordinances.
“We need to look at some short term strategies to help businesses get back on their feet,” Ashbeck said. “Changing some of our ordinances to help businesses adapt their business model.”
Elbaz wouldn’t name specific opponents or council members, but she feels more can be done to keep Clovis’ economy alive in a safe way amid the pandemic.
“We have a lot of City Council members who are spending too much time really pandering to what people want to hear, which is that we can act as if nothing is going on” Elbaz said. “We also need to look at how we are helping our small businesses recuperate from this
In Thursday’s newscasts, KSEE24 will hear from incumbent Vong Mouanoutoua and challenger Herman Nagra.
Ballots can be returned to drop boxes or mailed before March 2. In-person voting is going on right now at Clovis City Hall.