Elected Mayor of Fresno in 2008, Ashley Swearengin is a dynamic leader who focuses on building coalitions of experienced and capable experts to solve problems in honest and thoughtful ways. She has dedicated nearly her entire professional career to improving Fresno and the San Joaquin Valley. She is Fresno’s 21st elected mayor since the city was incorporated in 1885.
Fresno is a "Strong Mayor" city, in which the Mayor serves as the top-level executive for the organization. She is responsible for hiring the City Manager, producing the City budget, proposing legislation to the City Council, and ensuring the public is kept informed of important issues within our community.
Mayor Swearengin took office at one of the most challenging times in the City’s history. She has shown true leadership in working to return the City of Fresno to financial health while at the same time focusing on long-term transformational efforts such as downtown and community revitalization, and adult education.
Under Mayor Swearengin’s direction, the City of Fresno has implemented substantial changes in the way services are delivered to the public, focusing city government’s efforts on core services while engaging the private and nonprofit sectors and Fresno residents in an unprecedented fashion. To address a dramatic decline in the City’s General Fund, Mayor Swearengin’s Administration reduced its workforce, privatized municipal services, and created partnerships with nonprofit organizations and volunteers to operate some aspects of the City’s Parks and Recreation program thereby reducing City expenses while preserving the services for the public.
In addition to her efforts to revitalize downtown Fresno and its surrounding neighborhoods, Mayor Swearengin has also launched a number of major initiatives:
- Business Friendly Fresno Task Force – Promoting business growth and private investment in Fresno by conducting a thorough examination of existing interdepartmental development processes, improving customer outcomes, and benchmarking with other cities’ competitive operations and results. .
- Fresno Food Expo– Supporting the expansion of the Fresno Food Industry and adding jobs to the local economy, the Swearengin Administration launched the Fresno Food Expo, a trade show that invites buyers from major retail chains around the world to Fresno to view the products sold by the 150+ food businesses located in Fresno.
- Small Business Growth – Promoting small business growth through the adoption of a small business ordinance that provides additional city purchasing opportunities with locally owned, small businesses.
- Fresno Presidents’ Council – The collaboration of chief executives of Fresno’s anchor institutions in health care, education, agriculture, and finance. These institutions have the opportunity, motivation, and responsibility to address serious, long-term challenges in Fresno. Their Declaration to the Community outlines a pledge to work together creatively to generate solutions.
- Building Neighborhood Capacity Program – With support from Cross-Sector Partnership members, Fresno was one of only four cities in the nation to be selected to participate in the BNCP pilot program intended to catalyze community-driven change in neighborhoods that have historically faced barriers to revitalization.
- Learn2Earn – Addressing the “skills gap” issue in Fresno by promoting basic education and job training among Fresno’s workforce to meet the needs of area employers.
- Fresno First Steps Home – Addressing homelessness in Fresno by raising private funds to implement the City’s 10-year plan to prevent and end homelessness.
- Serve Fresno – An initiative aimed at strengthening the City of Fresno through volunteerism and service. As part of the initiative, Mayor Swearengin called for city residents to participate in one million hours of service by April 2011, and Fresnans responded with almost 1.5 million hours in a 12-month period. Fresno continues to make strides in volunteerism.
Mayor Swearengin was named one of California’s top 10 mayors by Capitol Weekly, a Sacramento-based publication covering California government and politics and was identified by the Brookings Institution as a member of the “Pragmatic Caucus.” She is a board member of the California League of Cities, chair of the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley, and at the national level, Mayor Swearengin serves on the leadership team of the U.S. Conference of Mayors as a member of its Executive Committee.
Before being elected to office, Mayor Swearengin led a number of economic development programs in the Fresno area, including the Central Valley Business Incubator, Fresno State’s Office of Community and Economic Development, the Regional Jobs Initiative and the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley.
Mayor Swearengin was born in Texas and raised in Arkansas. When she was in high school, her family relocated to Fresno – the city she has called home ever since. Mayor Swearengin holds a Bachelor of Science (magna cum laude) and a Master of Business Administration (summa cum laude) from California State University, Fresno. Her husband, Paul, and she have two children, Sydney and Samuel.
Second Term Agenda
January 2013 through December 2016
Fresno General Plan Implementation & Infill Development Task Force
PG&E Enhanced Economic Development Rate Proposal
Fresno First Steps Home
Building Neighborhood Capacity Program