Real estate agent makes last-minute entrance in Atwater City Council race

08/17/2014 7:54 PM

08/17/2014 7:55 PM

A newcomer entered the Atwater City Council race minutes before the close of the deadline for candidates to pull filing paperwork to run for office in November.

The deadline was extended to 5 p.m. Wednesday because the two incumbents in Atwater – Mayor Pro Tem Craig Mooneyham and Councilman Jeff Rivero – did not file for re-election, according to the county elections office.

Brian Raymond, 33, a real estate agent and co-owner of American Realty in Atwater, said he was contacted by more than 20 people in the community, urging him to run for office. Raymond, who said he had considered running for City Council in the past, rushed to file his paperwork on Wednesday.

“I literally got my papers in at 4:59 p.m.,” Raymond said. “I think my energy and ideas can help restore Atwater. I believe the city needs new leadership to restore Atwater to the place it was when I grew up.”

Raymond, who’s the youngest candidate in the Atwater City Council race, worked as a Livingston police officer for nearly five years. If elected, Raymond said, he plans to focus on restoring law enforcement services, bringing new businesses to Atwater and ensuring fiscal responsibility for the city.

“The cops in Atwater are used as political pawns whenever there is a problem,” Raymond said. “When we’re running out of money, we cut cops. I really want to help law enforcement, and we need to make sure those that protect us are protected.”

Mooneyham and Rivero, both elected in 2010, announced they will not seek re-election this month because of personal and family reasons.

Raymond will run against three other candidates for one of the two seats on the Atwater City Council: elementary school employee Fernando Echevarria, 51; retired fire Capt. James Vineyard, 57; and pastor and former retail executive Bill Barkman, 61.

Atwater resident Steve Jensen previously pulled papers to run for City Council, but said he will no longer seek office.

Atwater voters heading to the polls in November will also be asked to elect the city’s next mayor.

Longtime Atwater Mayor Joan Faul, 73, is seeking re-election, but will be challenged by Jim Price, 63, vice president of operations at Gemini Flight Support.

Retired business owner Wayne Wallace, 77, pulled papers to run against the mayor earlier this month, but said he changed his mind.

Faul has been mayor since 2006, and served four years as a council member prior to that.

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