Fresno Mayoral Debate Focuses on Religion

April 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fresno's mayoral candidates squared off Thursday night in downtown Fresno in front of perhaps the city's largest constituency; members of the Christian community. Ten of the eleven candidates hoping to replace Alan Autry as mayor sat before dozens of Fresno church goers hoping to capture their vote. Ten pastors asked the candidates questions ranging from city spending to revitalizing southeast Fresno.Pastor Jim Franklin of Cornerstone Church was the moderator. He says the candidate forum was probably the largest of any so far. But for the candidates it could prove to be the most important because there are more than 400 churches in Fresno. Franklin said, "Well if you figure 100 people at each one of those churches, and there are some churches that are a lot larger and some that are smaller; you're talking about the largest single block of voters in the city."

About 250 of those voters showed up to size up the candidates.

One church-goer, Jerry Kennedy said, "it was encouraging that the people are concerned and recognize that the faith-based people are alive."

Another church-goer, Angela Garcia said, "it's so hard and they're all so good, and they all seem to be based on faith which is one thing we really do need in government.

Not everyone in attendance was impressed. One pastor Joseph Perry, who was at Cornerstone to listen to the candidate forum, said he saw a lot of politically correct answers, but wanted to know more about their faith and whether they were members of any particular church.

The final question of the forum moved away from the political to the personal. Each candidate was asked how their faith would be incorporated into the office of mayor. All ten candidates said their faith in God would guide them in the job.

Tom Boyajian was the only candidate not at the forum. He had a previous commitment.


Load Comments