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Undecided on who to choose in Stockton mayor's race Tuesday? Here's a candidate breakdown

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STOCKTON - In the upcoming primary election, six candidates are vying to replace current Stockton mayor Kevin Lincoln, who is running for Congress.

The candidates are nonprofit director Jesus Andrade, educator and former city council member Christina Fugazi, small business owner Shakeel Ahmad Khan, county supervisor Tom Patti, nonprofit director Jessica Velez and current city council member Dan Wright.

The mayor's race could be decided on Super Tuesday, March 5, if one of the six receives more than 50% of the vote. 

If that does not happen, the top two candidates will advance to the general election in November for a runoff. 

CBS13 sent the same four questions to each of the six candidates to compile a voter guide before the March 5 primary. 

Here are their responses: 

Question one - What is your day one priority for Stockton? The single issue that is your biggest focus.   

Jesus Andrade: Homelessness 

Christina Fugazi: Safety

Shakeel Ahmad Khan: Homelessness 

Tom Patti: Homelessness 

Jessica Velez: Communication 

Dan Wright: Housing/Homelessness 

Question two - Dive deeper into your first answer. How do you plan to address that day-one issue to bring positive change for Stockton?

Jesus Andrade on homelessness: "There are thousands of people experiencing homelessness any given night across the city and thousands more are one paycheck away from becoming unhoused – this is unacceptable. Without a comprehensive, holistic strategy, our state will never be able to address our severe homelessness crisis effectively. The current approach is fragmented and missing clear lines of responsibility and accountability for all levels of government; it leads to inconsistent and insufficient funding while lacking the policy tools needed to guide efforts to address homelessness. As Mayor, I will prioritize public safety for everyone, including the unhoused, incentivize supportive housing construction, and advocate for more county, state, and federal resources. This is a complex issue that desperately needs better coordination and focused strategies."

Christina Fugazi on safety: "My day one priority for Stockton is safety. I plan to address this pressing issue by immediately working to strengthen the police force through recruitment and retention efforts, enhancing community policing initiatives, and implementing strategies to reduce crime and improve public safety across all neighborhoods. This will be achieved by meeting with our City Manager, Chief of Police, Deputy Chiefs, the Office of Violence Prevention, and other safety stakeholders. By focusing on safety from day one, we can create a foundation for a thriving and secure city that benefits all residents and businesses in Stockton. In order to build a livable and sustainable community we must be safe."

Shakeel Ahmad Khan on homelessness: "First of all I will arrange a meeting with all the stakeholders of the city and discuss the issue and figure out the facts and figures we have as how many homeless do we have in our city and the resources we have to overcome them. Based on that information I will create a homeless task force and send them in all the four directions of the city. This task force will be well-trained to motivate these homeless people and bring them to the shelters and provide them with all the necessary resources they need there and shall keep them under observation by implementing local laws. And keep them there until they are completely recovered and ready to move back into the community. During this time we will train them with some useful skills that can be used by them getting a better living later on. This will bring a positive and healthy change in the lives of our people."

Tom Patti on homelessness: "Expand shelters so we can retake our public spaces while providing real treatment to homeless to give them a path out of homelessness and comply with 9th district ruling.  As supervisor, I took the initiative securing funds for a (shelter first) plan with support services by partnering with Stockton, (and other cities) we now have the structure in place to fix this humanitarian crisis. As we build nearly 1,200 new beds, we will have the crisis response teams to enforce the law and help guide unsheltered people into a safe and secure place."

Jessica Velez on communication: "Communication is key to any positive progress for this city. Whether this is communication between city and county or if it is between the voters and elected officials, we as a community will not progress in a positive direction if no one is willing to listen to the real-time issues in the streets of Stockton.  We all know that crime, homelessness, drug epidemic, garbage, under-developed downtown and neglected neighborhoods, dilapidated parks and roadways are all serious issues concerning our city. I want to hear from people serving this city in their capacity as law enforcement, city employees, advocates and others who are in our streets working to make this city better every day. We cannot just rely on consultants and those elected to office to have real-time information and subsequent solutions for our long-existing problems.  What we have been doing is not working so on day one, I will be scheduling meetings with strategic individuals in the community actually doing the work, to sit down and communicate concerns and successes of what is working and what is not working in this city."

Dan Wright on housing/homelessness: "I have been leading on housing issues since 2016 when I joined the Housing Policy Committee for the League of California Cities. I have the knowledge and experience to cut through the roadblocks. 1. We need to incentivize underbuilt housing stock (e.g. apartments, accessory dwelling units, duplexes, and starter homes). 2. We need to provide shelter for the unhoused but also insist they use the housing we are providing. 3. We need to ensure our existing housing stock is maintained and remains on the market."

Question three - Why should Stockton voters choose you as their next mayor?

Jesus Andrade: "I am a husband and father raising my family in south Stockton. I have spent my public service career advocating for families on various housing, education and economic development issues. While I have seen both the amazing and unsettling in our city, I remain optimistic about Stockton's future. Despite our crime, homelessness, and affordable housing challenges, we can find common sense, unifying solutions. I am running with a clear roadmap for our future that accounts for the issues we must overcome. Stockton has weathered a lot over the last 20 years, and we are some of the most resilient people across the country. We've weathered the highs of housing development and waterfront revitalization in the 2000s, to the lows of being the foreclosure capital of the world during the Great Recession, the highest crime rate per capita between 2011-2013, and the decimation of our police department during the same period. All this while becoming the first large city in American history to declare bankruptcy. Stockton needs unity, transparency and stability. I intend to bring all three to city hall while working with city staff and my fellow council members on economic development and innovative solutions to our issues."

Christina Fugazi: "Stockton voters should choose me as their next mayor because I bring a unique combination of vision, experience, and dedication to the table. I have a deep understanding of the challenges facing our city and a clear roadmap for addressing them head-on. With a commitment to transparency, collaboration, and effective leadership, I am ready to work tirelessly to make Stockton a safer, more prosperous place for all who call it home."

Shakeel Ahmad Khan: "Stockton voters should vote for me because I believe in practical solutions rather than verbal promises as I came from the grassroots level of the community. I have deeply studied the issues that Stockton residents are facing and I have a complete, profound and practical understanding of as how to address them. Homelessness, youth programs, housing, public safety, crime control and unemployment are among those issues that need to be addressed accordingly on priority basis practically and be witnessed by the public."

Tom Patti: "I demand results, and have experience with common sense. Stockton is my home, where I was raised and where I am raising my daughter.  I want her to be able to build a life here, not have to move away to have real opportunity. From the homeless crisis, public safety, and local jobs, I've taken the action needed to tackle our biggest issues.  As a County Supervisor, I've partnered with the public and private sector to deliver results on our everyday challenges along with pushing for improvement on the outcomes needed to affect positive change.  Now is the time to bring all my current actions in motion to our largest city facing some of the biggest challenges."

Jessica Velez: "I believe that this community is ready for real change and fresh, tenacious leadership. I have a proven track record of getting things done for our homeless community. With hardly any fiscal support, the non-profit that I founded, Red Rabbit Advocacy, in collaboration with our designated supportive housing agencies, has been successful in housing or voucher in hand for over 45 households, a total of 108 people, half of whom are children, in the past year and a half. I speak from a position of action, not talk. We, as a city, are tired of empty promises, lack of transparency and wasteful spending. I intend to bring the people of this City back into the equation and make sure that their concerns are heard. To hold all of us accountable to do our personal best and make sure that the health of our community is the sole mission, not any personal motivations or self-serving intentions."

Dan Wright: "No candidate has the leadership or policy experience that I have. I was interim superintendent for Stockton Unified School District for an entire year, I served two years as Michael Tubbs' vice mayor, I've chaired our council's legislative committee, I've chaired the local flood control board, I've served statewide on housing, public safety, and transportation committees, and I have extensive experience advocating for Stockton in Washington, DC and Sacramento."

Question four - What do you believe sets you apart from the other candidates? 

Jesus Andrade: "I am the only Latino candidate that was born and raised in south Stockton, and have personally witnessed what happens when you stop investing in communities and people. It has led to a downward spiral that will take significant work and resources to recover from. I'm afraid for our city's future because disinvestment is happening citywide, and we're in danger of being overshadowed by more robust economic regions like Greater Sacramento and the Bay Area. Companies and employers will continue to disregard Stockton if we do not start investing in vital quality-of-life indicators like our youth, education systems, old neighborhoods, robust enterprise incubation and job training programs. We must also begin investing in city assets like our downtown waterfront and airport. Investment in ourselves has stagnated at best and been non-existent at worst over the last twenty years. As Mayor, I will unleash monetary and human investment across the city while generating more revenue through tourism, increased commerce and new business formation."

Christina Fugazi: "What sets me apart from other candidates is my proven track record of community engagement, my hands-on approach to problem-solving, and my ability to build bridges and find common ground even in the face of disagreements. I bring a fresh perspective to the table, rooted in a genuine commitment to serving the people of Stockton and creating real, tangible change that improves the lives of everyone in our city."

Shakeel Ahmad Khan: "I am a new fresh face with modern new practical vision rose up from the grass root level of the community as on contrary to my other fellow candidates who already have had their chances and turns taken several times and nothing have had been accomplished, achieved or witnessed yet as  the city is getting worse and worse day by day per factual statistics."

Tom Patti: "Results. Everyone talks with passion about making a difference, I've delivered effective results for over seven years here in our County as a local business employer I've signed the front of checks, I've seen the effects of a bad economy, I'm watching crime escalate. My daughter deserves better - we all deserve better than what we've received, it truly is time for action and results!"

Jessica Velez: "I am not a career politician. I spend every day in the streets of Stockton working to make this a better place to live for all of us. By addressing the homelessness, crime and drug epidemic first and foremost, we will prove to prospective businesses and others looking to invest in this community that we are working towards changing the culture of criminality and despair that has plagued our City for decades. One of the bigger points that sets my candidacy apart from the rest, I am not endorsed by anyone but the people, I have no desire to become or continue a career as a politician. I am confident in the compilation of my life experiences, my professional background and my loyalty to this city, that I would be the absolute best candidate to represent Stockton at this particular juncture. We are at a crucial time and the decision of who will guide the direction of Stockton has never been greater. I look forward to uniting this community and helping build a brighter and better Stockton... Together."

Dan Wright: "I am the only candidate that has called for transparency regarding corruption and incompetence in our community since the beginning of the mayoral campaign. I will establish greater transparency than city hall has seen in years, and I will demand that the FBI, the California Attorney General, and the San Joaquin County District Attorney reveal the results of their investigations into the IAQ air filter contract scandal in Stockton Unified. Somebody either broke the law or was seriously incompetent in making this contract. The public deserves to know the truth."

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