In just over 13 months, voters in three Fresno City Council districts will select their representatives.
Of the three districts up for elections, only one race will be without an incumbent. Garry Bredefeld is termed out in 2024, paving the way for a new councilmember in District 6 covering northeast Fresno.
Two have declared their intention to run, and both are military veterans. Nickolas Richardson flew helicopters for the Marines; Justin St. George handled logistics in the Navy. Both are political newcomers.
St. George has officially filed to raise campaign funds; Richardson plans to do the same in the next few months.
The primary is March 5, 2024. The field is far from finalized, but if no candidate receives a majority, the top two will advance to a November 2024 runoff.
Districts 4 and 6 are also up for election. Tyler Maxwell and Mike Karbassi, the respective incumbents, have either filed or intend to file for re-election. Neither has drawn an challenger so far.
Mayor Jerry Dyer is also up for re-election and plans to run again. Lourin Hubbard, a former congressional candidate, has also filed to run for mayor.
Richardson: Former Marine Wants to Serve Another Way
Richardson, 31, grew up in northeast Fresno, attended Virginia Military Institute, and served as a pilot for the Marines for 10 years. He is now in reserve service, and works a military aviation consultant.
He was stationed mostly in Hawaii and traveled the world. His desire was to serve in another way. He wanted to something more than be a military pilot.
“I can make this better, I can work, I can put what I have, what I know and who I am into paying back directly the community that that raised me. This is my opportunity to do that. And I would be remiss if I didn’t take that chance,” Richardson said.
His most concerning city issue is funding the fire department.
“They’re not even given the staff they need to do their jobs. And moving past that, they don’t have the funding or the pay or the benefits to be able to take care of themselves. And they’re willing to make the sacrifice,” Richardson said.
Richardson wants to look into city contracting, if there is a way to save money.
St. George: Wants a Safer Community
St. George, 28, served nearly six years in the Navy, after being honorably discharged in 2018. He achieved the rank of Petty Officer Second Class. Among his duties was serving as a travel manager for Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron One.
After his service, St. George graduated from Fresno Pacific with a business degree. He was active in LGBT rights on campus, president of the Birds of Pride club.
Currently, St. George works as a logistics coordinator for TK Elevator in Fresno.
“I’m passionate about our local community and making District 6 a more prosperous place to live, work, and raise a family. I believe my background and experience, especially my time in the military and my education, have prepared me well to serve on the city council,” St. George said about why he is running.
His most important issue?
“The safety of our residents is the number one goal of any local government. I believe that our city’s police and fire departments need to have the funding and resources they need to keep our community safe,” St. George said.
St. George is registered with no party preference; Richardson is a Republican.
No Endorsement Yet from Bredefeld
Richardson and Bredefeld already held a meeting. But the current councilman has yet to make an endorsement. He is not recruiting anyone to run.
“I wouldn’t recruit anybody because you’ve got to have the passion to serve. It’s not an easy thing to run. It’s a very stressful thing to do. And you’ve got to have the fire in the belly to do it. And if you don’t, you shouldn’t do it. And so people have to make their own decisions about that, something they really want to put themselves and their family through,” Bredefeld said.
Three Seats In Northeast Fresno
The open city council seat isn’t the only race causing intrigue in northeast Fresno.
A competitive race for the Fresno County Supervisor seat representing the area is brewing.
Incumbent Steve Brandau, R-Fresno, filed for re-election.
“My plan is to run for supervisor,” he told GV Wire.
Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, will be termed out of his seat that represents the area, in 2024. He already announced his intention to run for supervisor and officially filed to raise funds last week.
Bredefeld is considering both positions.
“I’m looking at one of two — running for the Paterson’s assembly seat when he vacates or potentially running for supervisor. (Patterson) announced that he’s running (for supervisor). And I’m considering that possibility as well, ” Bredefeld said.
Bredefeld said he would not run for supervisor if Brandau runs for re-election.
“Steve and I are friends, and we of course, talk about politics all the time. So we certainly discuss future races,” Bredefeld said.
Former Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, R-O’Neals, declined to run in 2022 against Patterson for an Assembly seat after redistricting. Last year when Bigelow pulled out, he indicated he would run again in 2024. He has one term of eligibility remaining.