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GV Wire Spotlight: Swearengin on criticism and running in 2018
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 7 years ago on
March 3, 2017

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In her eight years in office, Mayor Ashley Swearengin could sometimes be a lightning rod. Registered as a Republican, Swearengin’s policies could both frustrate both the left and the right. But, she won the respect of the business and labor communities.

“Ashley Swearengin did a great job. She had a good city council at her side in navigating the finances. To the extent that she leaves the city in good shape, it is an A-plus,” says head of the conservative Lincoln Club and local insurance company owner Michael Der Manouel, Jr.

”She’s done a fair job. She’s done some good things, and you can’t take that away,” says Fresno union leader Marina Magdaleno. “It’s a tough job being the mayor. You are not going to please everybody. If we had better communication in the beginning, she would have done a lot better.”

Swearengin says sometimes the criticism got to her. “It’s supposed to. If it doesn’t get to you, you are a robot and not good at your job. You have to feel things to connect with people and experience your own frustration. Yes, it gets to you, but how do you deal with it?”

Because of her status as a moderate Republican, Swearengin would sometimes be labeled a RINO (Republican in name only). Some conservatives felt this way because of her support of large public works projects like the High-Speed Rail, Bus Rapid Transit and opening of the Fulton Mall to auto traffic. But, that smear didn’t bother her.

“After you get upset and have your outburst and laugh about it behind closed doors, you can’t let that factor into policy and decision making. I’m proud to say, we never did. We never took what I knew to be very personal attacks…I never absorbed that and transitioned it into policy or decision that would get back at someone. You have to let it go and ultimately make the right decision.”

As a Republican Mayor of a major city, Swearengin’s name often appears in speculation as to running again for another office. In 2014, she ran, but lost, for state controller to Betty Yee. Swearengin says that is not part of her immediate future.

“I don’t know what the future holds. It may many years down the road that there is an office that I feel like is the right assignment for me at that time. I can’t envision it now. I am certainly not making any efforts to pursue elected office anytime soon,” Swearengin said.

And, that includes running in the next election in 2018. “I am really excited to just sit on the sidelines and watch the next political cycle as an observer, not a participant.”

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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