Brian Poochigian to be youngest Visalia city councilman
36-year-old logistics supervisor will replace Warren Gubler on the Visalia City Council
By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN
VISALIA – Brian Poochigian may have been the youngest of the three candidates vying for a seat on the City Council, but the 36-year-old had the most political experience, and ultimately, the most votes.
Poochigian finished election night with more than 50% of the vote in a three-way race and a 1,000 vote lead with as little as 6,000 votes remaining to be counted. More importantly, he already received concession calls from both of his opponents, Steve Woods and Merritt Wiseman.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to serve the community I grew up in,” he said.
Poochigian credits experience, hard work and key endorsements for the win. He said he learned what not to do in his bid for the District 1 seat on the Tulare County Board of Supervisors. Poochigian was in a crowded field of nine candidates vying to replace longtime Supervisor Allen Ishida who decided not to seek re-election in 2016. Poochigian squeaked out a third place finish with 12.58% of the vote in the March primary, but well behind Dennis Smith and eventual winner Kuyler Crocker who faced off in the November runoff.
“I spent a lot of time at events and not enough time with voters,” Poochigian said. “I also tried to fund my campaign with my own money instead of raising funds to get my name out there.”
Poochigian said he personally walked his district for about 7 hours each Saturday and sometimes on Sunday and knocked on 1,300 doors in District 3, seeing many faces he had known for the last 30 years.
“Some of them said I was the only candidate to ever knock on their door. That was really surprising,” Poochigian said. “Talking with people about the city we love has been my favorite part of the entire experience.”
Poochigian made himself extremely accessible during his campaign and promised to continue that if elected. He shared with voters his job as a logistics supervisor with Cal Tex Transportation, Inc., an agricultural produce shipping company scheduling trucks for clients from California to Texas, and how his private business experience would help him as a councilman.
“If I miss a phone call, I lose money,” Poochigian said of the shipping business. “I want to bring that same mentality to the City Council. I might not know all of the answers, but I will find the person that does or explain why there isn’t one. As a public servant, I want to be as accessible as possible.”
Poochigian also campaigned on the No. 1 issue in every election – public safety. He was adamant that the next facility the city should build was a new public safety headquarters for police and fire rather than a civic center, community center or aquatics center.
“I want all of those things but I don’t think we can afford them all and I don’t think we need any of them as much as a new public safety building,” Poochigian said.
His message not only resonated with voters but also the city and county’s public safety officers. He had endorsements from the Visalia Police officers Association, the Visalia Firefighters Association, the Deputy Sheriff’s Association, District Attorney Tim Ward, Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, and Tulare County Fire Chief Charlie Norman.