Meet Brian

BRIAN WHELAN’S FRESNO ROOTS RUN DEEP.

Brian Whelan has lived in District 7 for nearly a decade and it’s where he and his wife, Tali, have chosen to raise their two daughters, Alessandra and Luisa.  In fact, he graduated as Valedictorian from San Joaquin Memorial High School right here in District 7.

 

Growing up in a bilingual household, Brian is a fluent Spanish speaker and is obliged to serve his community, while communicating effectively with his constituents.

 

Brian joined the Board of Directors of Storyland-Playland, working to lead its resurgence and reopening in 2015. He also serves as a mentor to students at the Center for Advanced Research and Technology (CART).

 

As a successful employee rights attorney, Brian has spent his professional life fighting for the little guy by working on behalf of countless people who have been taken advantage of or left behind.

 

As your Councilman, Brian will bring the same fighting spirit to City Hall to fight for every District 7 neighborhood and resident.

 

The Whelan Family:

The Whelan/Zapata family history is like many Fresno City Council District 7 residents. My grandfather moved his family to the Central Valley to farm. After their arrival, my grandfather passed away unexpectedly. My grandmother raised 5 children and ran the olive farm by herself.

 

My father practices law and is a farmer. Growing up he farmed pistachios. As a teenager, I planted hundreds of trees. My mother’s family left Argentina during the political unrest. My grandfather, Daniel Zapata and grandmother Celia Correas came to California. While in the United States, my grandmother earned a PhD and worked as a professor at San Jose State. This is where she wrote books including one with a famous author, Isabel Allende.

 

Thanks to my grandfather, I am bilingual. My grandfather taught me the Spanish language and I communicated with my grandfather and mom mostly in Spanish. My grandfather was very special to me and he taught me a lot about growing up and the meaning of hard work and life’s lessons. My mother, Carol Zapata Whelan, received a PhD in comparative literature, and currently teaches at Fresno State University.

 

My wife Tali is a Chilean Citizen. Her father, Ricardo left Chile during the Socialist regime. Ricardo moved to Israel and then Spain where he met my mother-in-law who was from California.

 

My wife, Tali is a practicing nurse and mother of our two wonderful daughters. Due to our South American heritage, both our parents had known each other for decades. Both my wife and I are fluent in Spanish. My first daughter, Alessandra, just started kindergarten.

My second daughter, Luisa, suffered a stroke following birth and is very incapacitated. Luisa is progressing and is a beautiful soul. We are lucky and blessed to have our two beautiful children.

 

Community Involvement:

• Fighting for the disabled and people without a voice – I have always believed in the truth and equal justice for all. As a legal professional, I have volunteered my services to represent a number of groups and organizations who cannot afford an attorney to protect their rights. I have represented a number of Sikh organizations including the Sangeet & Dance Academy. I have volunteered my time to help kids in juvenile proceedings to help find a path to success. As a professional, I have represented a number of people who have faced discrimination and wrongful termination from employers who are taking advantage of them in the work place. Periodically, the Eastern District, Federal Court has asked me to serve as trial council for indigent incarcerated people to make sure their rights are protected and they have proper legal representation.

 

• Mentor and Teacher – For the last few years, I have volunteered in the law and policy lab to serve high school kids across the county. Groups of 5 or 6 students are selected. They identify an issue effecting teenagers and develop and implement programs to address the problems. Here are some of the areas of concern in 2018 – Bullying, Homelessness, Substance Abuse, Mental Health, Human Trafficking, Gangs and the Environment. I work with the students and advise them how to put their programs together and be the most effective. I also act as a Mock Trial Judge for the Fresno County Bar Association and help high school students by acting as a Judge and evaluating their mock trial skills.

 

• Community Volunteer – For the last 3 plus years, I have served on the Storyland and Playland Board of Directors. Due to mismanagement, Storyland and Playland were closed. A number of us came together and we saved it from being permanently closed. We raised over 800 thousand dollars and many of us volunteered our time to repair, paint and refurbish many of the structures and we re-opened it for the children in our community. The mission of Storyland is to create an exciting, educational, and easily accessible entertainment venue for families and children in our valley. I also serve on the Board of the San Joaquin River Association. We educate people impacted by the River and organize people for advocacy on policy issues. The SJRA’s mission is to protect and advance the interests, including protecting private property rights, of those affected by the flow of the San Joaquin River downstream of Friant Dam.

Brian Whelan has lived in District 7 for nearly a decade and it’s where he and his wife, Tali, have chosen to raise their two daughters, Alessandra and Luisa.  In fact, he graduated as Valedictorian from San Joaquin Memorial High School right here in District 7.

 

Growing up in a bilingual household, Brian is a fluent Spanish speaker and is obliged to serve his community, while communicating effectively with his constituents.

 

Brian joined the Board of Directors of Storyland-Playland, working to lead its resurgence and reopening in 2015. He also serves as a mentor to students at the Center for Advanced Research and Technology (CART).

 

As a successful employee rights attorney, Brian has spent his professional life fighting for the little guy by working on behalf of countless people who have been taken advantage of or left behind.

 

As your Councilman, Brian will bring the same fighting spirit to City Hall to fight for every District 7 neighborhood and resident.

 

The Whelan Family:

The Whelan/Zapata family history is like many Fresno City Council District 7 residents. My grandfather moved his family to the Central Valley to farm. After their arrival, my grandfather passed away unexpectedly. My grandmother raised 5 children and ran the olive farm by herself.

 

My father practices law and is a farmer. Growing up he farmed pistachios. As a teenager, I planted hundreds of trees. My mother’s family left Argentina during the political unrest. My grandfather, Daniel Zapata and grandmother Celia Correas came to California. While in the United States, my grandmother earned a PhD and worked as a professor at San Jose State. This is where she wrote books including one with a famous author, Isabel Allende.

 

Thanks to my grandfather, I am bilingual. My grandfather taught me the Spanish language and I communicated with my grandfather and mom mostly in Spanish. My grandfather was very special to me and he taught me a lot about growing up and the meaning of hard work and life’s lessons. My mother, Carol Zapata Whelan, received a PhD in comparative literature, and currently teaches at Fresno State University.

 

My wife Tali is a Chilean Citizen. Her father, Ricardo left Chile during the Socialist regime. Ricardo moved to Israel and then Spain where he met my mother-in-law who was from California.

 

My wife, Tali is a practicing nurse and mother of our two wonderful daughters. Due to our South American heritage, both our parents had known each other for decades. Both my wife and I are fluent in Spanish. My first daughter, Alessandra, just started kindergarten.

My second daughter, Luisa, suffered a stroke following birth and is very incapacitated. Luisa is progressing and is a beautiful soul. We are lucky and blessed to have our two beautiful children.

 

Community Involvement:

• Fighting for the disabled and people without a voice – I have always believed in the truth and equal justice for all. As a legal professional, I have volunteered my services to represent a number of groups and organizations who cannot afford an attorney to protect their rights. I have represented a number of Sikh organizations including the Sangeet & Dance Academy. I have volunteered my time to help kids in juvenile proceedings to help find a path to success. As a professional, I have represented a number of people who have faced discrimination and wrongful termination from employers who are taking advantage of them in the work place. Periodically, the Eastern District, Federal Court has asked me to serve as trial council for indigent incarcerated people to make sure their rights are protected and they have proper legal representation.

 

• Mentor and Teacher – For the last few years, I have volunteered in the law and policy lab to serve high school kids across the county. Groups of 5 or 6 students are selected. They identify an issue effecting teenagers and develop and implement programs to address the problems. Here are some of the areas of concern in 2018 – Bullying, Homelessness, Substance Abuse, Mental Health, Human Trafficking, Gangs and the Environment. I work with the students and advise them how to put their programs together and be the most effective. I also act as a Mock Trial Judge for the Fresno County Bar Association and help high school students by acting as a Judge and evaluating their mock trial skills.

 

• Community Volunteer – For the last 3 plus years, I have served on the Storyland and Playland Board of Directors. Due to mismanagement, Storyland and Playland were closed. A number of us came together and we saved it from being permanently closed. We raised over 800 thousand dollars and many of us volunteered our time to repair, paint and refurbish many of the structures and we re-opened it for the children in our community. The mission of Storyland is to create an exciting, educational, and easily accessible entertainment venue for families and children in our valley. I also serve on the Board of the San Joaquin River Association. We educate people impacted by the River and organize people for advocacy on policy issues. The SJRA’s mission is to protect and advance the interests, including protecting private property rights, of those affected by the flow of the San Joaquin River downstream of Friant Dam.

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