Drew Bessinger, is the only incumbent in the crowded field of candidates this election and is a familiar face to Clovis.
Bessinger served as Mayor during the beginning of the pandemic and has held many positions such as Police Captain.
Bessinger spent 42 years as a law enforcement officer for federal, state and seven local cities that include 22 years at the Clovis police department, according to his campaign website.
Heading into the Nov. 8 election, Bessinger said his catalyst for seeking re-election comes from “unfinished business” he hopes to accomplish such as, providing more resources to the Clovis Police department to ensure Clovis safety.
“We’re trying to find a mechanism to staff more police officers because when I was captain at Clovis PD in 2006 we had 116 officers. We’ve gone down after the recession to 93 officers by 2011. We are now around 111 police officers for a city of almost 125,000. So we need to find a mechanism to fund those positions,” Bessinger said.
Bessinger said one such mechanism is Measure B, but Bessinger said while Measure B is a good start, it is not perfect.
“I hope between [Measure B] and our sales tax revenues we will be able to afford to bring more police officers on but, there may come a point where the community has to consider a short term sales tax to get us over the hump until about 2030,” Bessinger said.
On his campaign website, Bessinger said “there is much more to do…there always is. Excellence does not happen by chance, it takes vision and planning…lots and lots of planning. My main goal as your council member is to keep Clovis the safest and cleanest community in California.”
Bessinger said he hopes to accomplish this goal through a continued effort of code enforcement and relying on voluntary calls from community members when there is something that is, according to Bessinger, “hurting the property value” of neighborhoods.
Bessinger hearkened back to a policing concept that he teaches at the police academy that is called the “broken window theory,” Bessinger explained the theory;
“If you go into a neighborhood or into a commercial area and there’s broken windows and graffiti, it leads the people to believe nobody cares about this neighborhood,” Bessinger said.
Bessinger explained that such behavior could escalate to couch dumping, to appliances being left in the front of properties.
“It’s a slippery slope because once it starts you have to really be on it and as a community that is something we have done an excellent job at,” Bessinger said.
Since being elected to City Council in 2017 Bessinger has served as mayor during the pandemic and shares his accomplishments serving the community during the pandemic.
“We delivered meals to our seniors who were sheltering at home. Clovis had the lowest COVID rates in the country, lower than cities 1/10th our size.” Bessinger said.
Bessinger said the unintended consequences of the Governor’s orders “picked ‘winners and losers’ where large corporate stores remained open and small businesses were shuttered,” and in response Bessinger said he “refused” to shut down small businesses.
“We refused to target our small businesses that took reasonable precautions and reopened,” Bessinger said.
Bessinger said during the pandemic they had businesses that couldn’t afford to shut down and during that time when businesses were shut down Bessinger said he made the decision to allow the business to open back up responsibly.
“I said open back up, wear a mask, socially distance and act appropriately and the city of Clovis isn’t going to come after you,” Bessinger said.
With a crowded field of candidates, Bessinger said he thinks the amount of candidates that have “stepped up” to run for city council is a great thing and having so many highly qualified citizens who want to serve the community is a good thing to see.
Bessinger shared that he directly lobbied state agencies to permit the reopening of our restaurants, barber shops and hairdressers who were “on the verge of insolvency” according to Bessinger’s campaign website.
“We need to continue our growth, but not grow so fast that we outpace our ability to serve all of our citizens. We also need to create an environment that attracts business so Clovis is not just a bedroom community for Fresno. We need to do all of this, while keeping our “small town” feel that has made Clovis the special place that it truly is. I have a proven track record of public service and a commitment to your safety. I would be honored to have your vote on November 8th.” Bessinger said on his campaign website.