FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The Fresno City Council District 1 seat is up for grabs as current councilmember Esmeralda Soria is running for an assembly seat and is termed out on the council. 

On Tuesday night, the candidates running in District 1 participated in a candidate forum Tuesday night where they answered questions about themselves and their platforms. 

Mike Briggs, Cary Catalano, Annalisa Perea, and Jeremy Preis are the four candidates looking to fill the empty seat.

Mike Briggs served on the council in District 1 in the ’90s before later becoming a state assemblyman. He says he’s running for city council again because he believes many issues in Fresno are getting worse. He says public safety is top of mind.

“I increased the police force before, I’ll do it again. We cleaned up a lot of crime problems before when I was on the city council, I’m dedicated to that,” said Briggs.  

Catalano has run for this district before. He lost to Soria in 2014 but has remained active on many community boards. He says his top priorities are public safety, quality of life, and park and neighborhood enhancements. He says housing also needs to be addressed.

“The reality is that the private sector is going to charge what they’re going to charge unless the city council agrees to move forward on some mechanism of rent control,” Catalano said.  

Perea is currently a community college trustee president. Both her brother and father served on the Fresno City Council. She says her top issues are public safety, youth services, and neighborhood infrastructure. 

“I’m looking forward to bringing forward bold policy as it relates to housing, air quality. I’m going to bring a senior activity center for our aging population because we don’t talk enough about those issues here,” said Perea.  

Political newcomer Preis is in the running as well. He says public safety is a top priority, but he says he was motivated to run after seeing issues in his own neighborhood, from crime to homelessness. 

“We need to fix from the ground up, from the home out, and hold everyone accountable and get together get the youth involved and get them on the right track,” said Preis.

The Fresno County Elections Office will start mailing out ballots on Monday for the June 7th primary.