Throughout the history of our city we have had a wide variety of Fresno mayors from all different backgrounds, including high school teachers, celebrities, businesspeople, and, of course, politicans, serve as our mayor to develop and execute policies alongside our city council.
While we have had a total of 26 mayors throughout our history, we’d like to shine a spotlight on the 10 most recent individuals that held the title of Mayor of Fresno.
Jerry Dyer is the current mayor of Fresno and just recently took office in January of 2021. Dyer grew up and spent most of his life in the Fresno area. Before taking office, he spent 40 years in the Fresno Police Department, serving 18 of those as Chief, making him the longest-tenured police chief in the city’s history.
Taking office in 2017, Lee Brand became the oldest person to hold the title of Mayor in Fresno’s history. In addition to serving on the Fresno City Planning Commission and the Fresno Redevelopment Agency, Brand represented District 6 on the Fresno City Council from 2008 until he became mayor in 2016. Brand has been an active member of his community since he left office; upon leaving office he donated his unused campaign funds towards scholarships for local highschool students.
Ashley Swearengin held office from 2009-2017 and is only the second woman to hold the title of mayor in Fresno. Swearengin won a runoff election in 2008 and went on to win her re-election in 2012 before running for State Controller in 2014. Before and during her time in office, Swangerin focused on a number of economic development initiatives and now serves as President and CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation.
Aside from being mayor, Alan Autry may be best known for his role as Captian Bubba Skinner from the TV Series Heat of the Night. In addition to starring in multiple movies and TV shows, Autry also played in the NFL before he was mayor and spent a few years as a radio host after he left office. Autry served as mayor from 2001-2009 and won his re-election with an impressive 72% of votes.
Another two-term mayor, Jim Patterson was Fresno’s mayor from 1993-2001. Patterson also graduated with a Bachelors’s Degree in Political Science from California State University, Fresno, and was a business and broadcast executive before running for mayor. Although Patterson left office at the end of his second term, he currently serves as a member of the California State Assembly from the 23rd District.
Fresno’s first female mayor, Karen Humphrey, held office from 1989 to 1993. Humphrey began her career as a news reporter but served on the Fresno City Council before running for mayor. To date, Humphrey was the last democratic mayor of the city. After leaving office, she focused mainly on educational policy and getting more women into public office.
Dale Doig served as mayor from 1985 to 1989 after Dan Whitehurst resigned from his position. Doig completed Whitehurst’s term before running for his own term. Before his time as mayor, Doig spent an impressive four terms on the Fresno City Council while working as a teacher at Roosevelt High School. During the early years of his term, MTM Enterprises approached Doig and the city about a comedy series, Fresno, in which Doig played himself for the show.
Dan Whitehurst became mayor of Fresno in 1977 and served until 1985 when he resigned early to become Resident Fellow of the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School. At the time of his election, Whitehurst was only 28 years old, making him the youngest mayor in Fresno history.
Ted C. Willis
Throughout his 30 year political career, Ted C. Willis, served as mayor from 1969 to 1977. Floyd became acting mayor after President Richard Nixon appointed Willis’ predecessor to his cabinet in 1969. Shortly after, Willis won his own election and re-election before losing the race for his third term by only 117 votes.
Floyd H. Hyde
As opposed to many other public offcicials, Floyd H. Hyde began his political career with his run for mayor in 1965. While he was not expected to win, Hyde beat out his competitors and ended up serving as mayor from 1965-1969. One of the most notable acts of Hyde’s mayorship was working to gain recognition for Fresno to receive it’s first All-America City Award. In 1969, President Nixon selected Hyde to be the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Throughout our history, Fresno has benefitted from the hardwork and dedication our public officials have put into our city to make it a great place to live and work.
If you are looking to begin building your life in Fresno, or just looking to relocate to a different area of the city, FresYes Realty Group is here to help you find your perfect home in Fresno.