Hanford Council swears in three new members; Sorenson elected mayor, Draxler, Vice-Mayor

Francisco Ramirez, John Draxler and Art Brieno are Hanford’s new city council members. Catherine Doe

The Hanford City Council swore-in three new members at its regular meeting on December 18–former council members Francicsco Ramirez and Art Brieno and newcomer John Draxler.

After the swearing-in ceremony it was time for the annual reorganization of the council. City Council Member Martin Devine nominated Council Member Sue Sorenson for mayor and she was approved 5-0. Devine then nominated Draxler for Vice Mayor, who was also unanimously approved.

Before the new members took their seats on the dais the former members said their goodbyes and gave some last words of wisdom. Council Member Justin Mendes jokingly said that there is now an opening in the baritone section of the council for whoever wants to take it, referring to his often taking the lead on weighty issues. But all joking aside, he advised the new members to always be willing to throw out their ideas because someone else on the council might feel the same.

Dianne Sharp enthusiastically said, “we have greatness among us” and encouraged members of the community to tap into that greatness. She advised the audience to not be satisfied with the status quo and always ask yourself how you can be a better neighbor. She ended her comments by quoting from the late President George H. W. Bush, “There is only one use for power, and that is to serve the people.”

Mayor David Ayers has been on the city council on and off for 20 years, starting in 1989. Back then, when he was sworn-in the first thing that ran through his head was, “What the Hell did you get yourself into?” He said he had many sleepless nights but ultimately everything worked out. He was proud of the fact that Hanford has the lowest sales tax in the valley at 7.25%, has increased its revenues, and has the most money invested in the history of the city.

New council members said a few words before starting on the city’s official business. Brieno said that he will be asking a lot of questions. Draxler said, “We are going to set the bar high and go for it.” Ramirez asked the audience to give his family a round of applause for taking the brunt of the negative comments he endured during his recall and election but that now it is time to move forward.

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