Waseem Ahmed Is Elected Chowchilla’s New Mayor
By Patty Mandrell
Waseem Ahmed, an 18-year resident of Chowchilla, was elected to serve the city as mayor for the upcoming new year. This will be his second year on the council.
Before being elected to the council, he was appointed to the Parks and Recreation Commission and was later appointed to the Planning Commission, where he served for 12 years.
Interested in the business community, Ahmed also joined the Chowchilla Industry Development Board. He served on the Madera County High Speed Rail Task Force representing businesses. Ahmed has opposed the high-speed rail project from the beginning.
Ahmed has served on the board of the Chowchilla District Chamber of Commerce for several years, with two terms as president.
Ahmed was born in Pakistan and came to the United States when he was 14 years old. His family settled in the Bay Area. He grew up in the Concord area and graduated from Mount Diablo High School. After high school he attended a community college and then a state college in San Francisco, where he studied finance and marketing.
Ahmed said he liked the small-town atmosphere Chowchilla offered. “What I felt when I came to Chowchilla was a sense of community,” he said. “But what really impressed me was the way the residents were actively involved in the community. I knew this was a place I wanted to call home.”
Ahmed said he believes the council is a decision-making body that represents all the people within the jurisdiction of Chowchilla and is responsible to the residents. He also said he is a believer in transparency in government.
Ahmed said one of the city’s biggest issues is infrastructure. “The city’s infrastructure is old,” he said. It is in need of repair and upgrades.” He noted that infrastructure needs to be in place to accommodate growth.
Another area Ahmed would like to focus on is bringing more businesses and jobs to the city. “Our new motto is ‘Chowchilla is open for business,’ ” he said. “We are actively pursuing businesses to relocate to Chowchilla.”
Ahmed praised the city’s police and fire departments for the job they do. “Our new police chief is leading the department in a positive, new direction,” he said. “My hope is we can get to the point with our budget where we can afford to be competitive in paying our officers for the dangerous job they do.”
Ahmed noted Chowchilla is fortunate to have a well-trained, dedicated volunteer fire department, but at some point the city will have to address the issue of a full-time fire department with pay and affordable benefits.
“The city will continue to deal with high-speed rail and water issues, but on the whole, the city is moving in a positive direction,” Ahmed said. “I am looking forward to working with the council and city staff to accomplish our goals for 2016.” - Chowchilla News