New Year brings changes to the Fresno City Council

One old member is out, a new member is in, and a new council president is in charge.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- One old member is out, a new member is in, and a new council president is in charge.

The Fresno City Council Chambers were overflowing with family friends and supporters of council members. While a happy occasion it was tinged with emotion as Council Member Blong Xiong said goodbye after eight years in office.

"I just want to thank the residents of District 1 for their faith in me and that I hoped I served them well," said Blong Xiong.

Xiong served two terms, the maximum allowed. His replacement in District 1 is Esmerelda Soria. She outlined some of her priorities. "There are a number of issues with blight in our neighborhoods, with cleaner air, making sure that we are connecting investing in public transportation is important to me. I want to make sure Tower is connected to Downtown," said Esmerelda Soria, Fresno City Council member.

She was sworn into office along with the three incumbents who were re-elected in the November election -- Sal Quintero, Clint Olivier and Oliver Baines. Baines was also named Council President, and said the next year will be busy, High Speed Rail, Bus Rapid Transit and the Reopening of the Fulton Mall to traffic all becoming realities.

"I think we will see an implementing year -- a year in which we start turning dirt on these monumental projects that are going to be happening in Fresno," said Baines.

While most city officials were in the audience, Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin was in Sacramento and did not attend the ceremonies.

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