Modesto attorney Robert Farrace stayed informed about city politics throughout his career here, but he wasn't ready to put his own name on the ballot until this year.
He's part of a four-way race to succeed outgoing Councilman Bob Dunbar, who is not seeking re-election.
Farrace, 43, wants to shore up Modesto's public safety ranks by retaining more officers, fixing roads and beautifying the city.
He recently sat down with The Bee to answer a few questions about why he chose this year for his first run for office.
Q: Why are you running for City Council?
A: The principal reason is my family, my son and my wife. I want to see this town become an even better place. You see room for improvement and you want to make it happen.
Q: Was there an experience in your life that made you want to get involved with local government?
A: I don't think it was anything specific, though I've always made it my business to stay informed. The reason I do that is my vote. My vote is my ultimate voice and I want to be informed before I cast it.
Q: What's your top priority if you get elected?
A: When the council is about to address (hiring a successor to retiring City Manager George Britton), that's going to be the most important issue. As to the second issue, there's one big theme and that's making sure our citizens are safe. With the Police Department, I'd like to find a way that allows better retention of officers.