Lifelong Valley resident running in newly drawn 27th District
Instead of running for re-election, Fresno City Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria is trying for State Assembly in the newly drawn 27th District which includes Los Banos. She was first elected in 2014, served as council president in 2018 and her current term ends on January 2, 2023. Soria ran unsuccessfully for Congress in the 2020 primary placing third out of four candidates. The Democrat is facing Republican and former Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin in next month’s election.
A first-generation American and daughter of Mexican immigrant farm workers, Soria was born and raised in Tulare County and is a lifelong Central Valley resident. As a child she worked with her parents in the fields and packing houses.
Soria graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a degree in Political Science and Chicana/o Studies and earned a J.D. from U.C. Davis, focusing on immigration law. She worked as a policy aide in Sacramento, as a project director for the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, as district director to State Sen. Michael J. Rubio (D), and as a policy advisor to State Assemblymember Henry T. Perea (D). According to her Linkedin profile she has worked as an adjunct professor at Fresno City College since 2014 and as a professor for the Fall 2013 semester at San Joaquin College of Law. However, the faculty directory on the Fresno City College website does not include Soria’s name.
According to her biography on the Fresno City website, Governor Newsom appointed Soria to his Transition Team and Homeless Taskforce. Most recently, Soria was elected president of the League of California Cities Latino Caucus.
According to her campaign website, Soria “invested $2 billion in police, fire protection and emergency response” and “led efforts to revitalize Fresno, helping to create thousands of jobs, affordable housing and homeless shelters; expanded Fresno City College and created a scholarship fund for DREAMers; helped deliver millions in emergency funding for safe drinking water; and secured funding for new health clinics and local schools.”
She is running “to fight for our schools, neighborhoods, and disadvantaged communitiesto make sure everyone has access to a quality education, healthcare and housing – and that California’s economic recovery from the pandemic doesn’t leave our working families behind.”
Soria’s endorsements include by public safety organizations including the California Coalition of Law Enforcement Associations, California Correctional Peace Officers Association and California College and University Police Chiefs Association, as well as a variety of unions, including the California Teachers Association, United Farm Workers, United Nurses Associations of California, AFSCME California PEOPLE, California School Employees Association, plus two business organizations, the California Realtors Association and BizFed PAC from L.A. County, pro-abortion organizations NARAL and Planned Parenthood.
Takes Swipe at Pazin
On her website, Soria makes one attack against her opponent, Pazin as she is quoted saying, “My opponent let sex offenders and criminals go free on our streets.” Asked if they had a response. Pazin campaign spokesman Jordan Dennison wrote with a counterattack, “No matter how hard Soria tries to pretend she’s tough on crime, she’ll always be the one who surrounds herself with corrupt individuals under investigation or indictment, the one who was under investigation herself at one point, and the one who puts ‘defund the police’ politicians like AOC on a pedestal.”
Questions for Soria Go Unanswered
Soria and a campaign spokesman were asked via email if she can provide details about the attack on Pazin and if it occurred when he was Merced County Sheriff or Chief of Law Enforcement for Cal-OES.
Soria was also asked if her claim of investing $2 billion in public safety refers to votes she took as a member of the Fresno City Council. In addition, Soria was asked if she is still an adjunct professor at Fresno City College, what does or did she teach, if not, when did her time there end and what she is now doing for work.
Finally, Soria was asked if she’s married and has any children, as neither are mentioned on her campaign website nor city council biography.
According to a Dec. 8, 2021 letter from Fresno City Attorney Douglas Sloan to Soria, in November 2021, she and her then-fiancée, Fresno businessman Terance Frazier, went to Mexico to get married. Yet, “the wedding did not result in a ‘legal’ marriage because it was not registered there according to the laws of Mexico, nor here in California,” Sloan wrote, who sent the letter due to business Frazier had with the City of Fresno. But he wrote that it created a conflict of interest for Soria as “a ceremonial wedding without a legal marriage will require you to recuse yourself and not participate in any City matters involving Terance Frazier.”
The profile on Frazier’s business website also doesn’t mention that they’re married.
Neither she nor her campaign spokesman responded. Efforts to reach Soria for an interview for this report were also unsuccessful. For more information visit www.soriaforcalifornia.com.