Turlock residents will have four mayoral candidates on the ballot come November, as Jaime Franco joined challengers Amy Bublak and Brad Bates in an effort to unseat incumbent Gary Soiseth.
This is not Franco’s first time seeking a seat on the Turlock City Council. He unsuccessfully ran for the District 2 seat against Gil Esquer in 2016.
The westside resident said he was motivated to run for mayor as a way to serve the community.
“It’s time for a change and a change for the good,” he said.
Franco, the son of migrant farmers, has been a part of the Turlock community for over 40 years. He is a Turlock High grad and has a degree in political science from Stanislaus State. Franco currently works as a salesman at Five Star Auto Sales in Modesto.
Franco has volunteered for a number of migrant education programs and as an interpreter for Catholic Charities, the California Highway Patrol and county courts. He is also a past president of the Latino Community Roundtable of Stanislaus County.
Our town deserves better. It’s time to join forces for a better community.Jaime Franco
What he calls a lack of attention to the westside of Turlock is one issue close to his heart.
“We need more improvements on our side of town…streets, lights, homeless, safety,” Franco said.
While he is passionate about Turlock’s oldest area of town, he thinks his candidacy is an “opportunity for us to step up together” for the betterment of the entire city.
“Our town deserves better. It’s time to join forces for a better community,” said Franco.
On the issue of cannabis, Franco said he needs more time to study the issue of Turlock possibly reversing its current ban on cannabis sales and operations because it is a complex issue.
Franco thinks that the entire community has an obligation to step up and help address homelessness.
“This country is full of opportunities but when you lose everything, you lose everything. We need to work harder on caring for each other. I think it’s in the interest of all of us, business, nonprofit, government, individuals to work together,” he said.
Franco said that while he feels the public safety departments are “doing well with the resources they have,” he doesn’t feel safe in his own home.
Franco believes his joining the race for the mayoral seat allows Turlock voters a more balanced field to choose from come November.
“We need more love and respect. We need more understanding of our differences. We need to work to find common grounds,” he said.
Franco said he welcomes input from the community and can be reached at Francoforturlock@gmail.com.
Franco joins an already heated mayoral race between Mayor Soiseth, Council member Bublak and former mayor Bates. The candidate nomination period for the Turlock mayoral race ended on Friday.
The Turlock Journal will host a mayoral candidate forum at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Carnegie Arts Center in downtown Turlock. This is a free event, however, you must have a ticket to attend. Ticket request forms will be available in the Turlock Journal or at 138 S. Center St. Forms must be received by 5 p.m. Sept. 14. There will be a random drawing for the available tickets, with two tickets allowed per person. For more information, call 209-634-9141.