Hispanic business owners are generally focused on the same issues as other business owners — economic policy and public safety.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer addressed the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation breakfast Wednesday. Even though he was in a suit, Dyer talked about public safety issues.

But, his presence as a mayoral candidate wasn’t lost on the audience, a mix of business owners, educators, and a full table of police officers sitting with Dyer.

What FAHF Members Want

“Our Hispanic community is hoping we have a Latino chief of police.”Dora Westerlund, FAHF CEO

Dora Westerlund, FAHF’s CEO, says she hears what her members want out of City Hall.

“It’s helping small businesses…. what is the city doing to provide them more contracts, more opportunities,” Westerlund said.

Public safety is also a big deal.

“A lot of our Hispanic community feels unsafe at this time, with everything that’s happening in the country,” Westerlund said, referencing the recent shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

Dyer spoke about keeping the community safe at large public events. His message in general: If you see something, say something.

Westerlund’s group is not taking a formal stance on the March 2020 mayor’s race.

Regarding the next police chief, Westerlund says the community wants someone who looks like them: “Our Hispanic community is hoping we have a Latino chief of police.”

Andy Hall, a 40-year veteran of the department, was recently named acting chief in advance of Dyer’s scheduled mid-October retirement.

Leadership, Economic Skills Desired

“(I want) someone that continues to help us grow on the low-income side of town.”banker Rosa Pereirra

The 2020 mayoral race didn’t appear top of mind for many of the breakfast-goers, but many were impressed by Dyer.

Dyer and Andrew Janz, a county prosecutor, are the only major candidates in the race.

Juan Carranza works as the business services coordinator with the Fresno Workforce Development Board. He says he is undecided but wants a leader as mayor.

“A community-based leader who understands the needs of the community,” he said.

Helping businesses throughout the city was a stated priority for many in attendance.

Who Will Woo the Undecideds?

Rosa Pereirra, a branch manager at Self-Help Federal Credit Union, wants “someone that continues to help us grow on the low-income side of town” — particularly in the west and southeast. “I want someone who can help businesses flourish and keep us safe also.”

Pereirra said she’s undecided about the mayoral race, but added that she liked what she heard from Dyer.

“I don’t know much about the other candidates honestly. I think Chief Dyer is more well-known and respected in the community. I hope that will go a long way for him.”

Astrid Lopez, a health insurance broker, is also undecided on whom to support. She said she’s focusing more on the presidential race.

“I hear a lot of good things about him,” Lopez said of Dyer.

Could she potentially support him?

“Somebody with that kind of personality and background? Of course,” she answered.

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