Ashley Swearengin, Fresno’s outgoing Republican mayor, will take a job in the nonprofit sector after leaving office, as the question of a 2018 run for governor of California looms.
Swearengin will take on the position of president/CEO of the Central Valley Communications Foundation after leaving office, according to the Fresno Bee. In an interview with the local news outlet, she said the move “seemed like the next logical step” after having worked in community and economic development for 10 years before becoming Fresno’s mayor.
The foundation receives grants, raises funds, invests and distributes them in endowments in the Central San Joaquin Valley. Its website states that it provides “unique opportunities for individual donors, families, businesses, and other foundations to invest in programs that address a wide spectrum of economic, social, educational, cultural and environmental needs.”
Dr. Alan Pierrot, chairman of the foundation, told the Bee that Swearengin’s focus on depressed area economic development fits perfectly with the goals of the foundation. With just about 12 staff and 2015 expenditures of about $10.6 million, the foundation runs on a far more modest staff and budget than Swearengin has been afforded with the City of Fresno.
The Fresno mayor told the Bee that she made the decision after considering jobs in either academics, the nonprofit sector or the business sector. The move means a significant pay increase from her $135,000-per-year salary as mayor. Pierrot told the Bee that Swearengin will be paid “somewhat higher” than the $162,000 that her predecessor made.
Swearengin has been expected to make a run in 2018 for the office of California governor to replace Democrat Jerry Brown. Among Democrats, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is already running, and former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is expected to run as well. In 2014, Swearengin ran for state controller, but lost the statewide position to Democrat Betty Yee.
In the Bee interview, Swearengin called political ambitions “off the table.” She said that she’s “thiking about things in an eight-to-10-year horizon.”
Last week, the Fresno mayor singed on as the only Republican joining a host of prominent Democrats advocating for legislation giving the domineering California Air Resources Board the requirement and license to limit greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, according to the Bee.
She has notably broken with many Republicans and supported Brown’s monumentally expensive and troubled high-speed rail venture.
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