Few interested in municipal office

Nomination petitions available from city clerk through March 6

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City election calendar

• Friday, March 6: Nomination petitions must be returned to City Clerk's Office in City Hall, 300 W. Fourth St.

• Monday, March 9: Last day to register to vote in city election.

• Tuesday, April 7: Election Day.

When the time came for Craig residents to collect petitions and run for municipal office, City Clerk Shirley Seely hoped many people would take the opportunity to become involved.

This election cycle - which culminates with the April 7 municipal elections - has not lived up to her expectations.

Seely has given out six nomination packets since they became available Feb. 9. Of those, four were given to incumbents.

"I was hoping for a little more interest than that," she said.

Craig City councilors Gene Bilodeau, Terry Carwile and Byron Willems collected packets from Seely's office, though she said Carwile was the only one to return his signature form as of Monday.

Willems and Carwile are running for second terms, while Bilodeau is technically running for his first after being appointed to fill a vacant seat last year.

Councilor Bill Johnston cannot seek re-election this year because of term limits.

Mayor Don Jones also plans to seek an additional term. If elected, the next one would be his third and final as mayor, he said.

Mayoral term limits cap a person's service at three consecutive two-year terms, while councilors are limited to two consecutive four-year terms.

Jones said he doesn't want to give up a job he enjoys so much.

"I like working with the people, trying to help the city I grew up in better" itself, he said. "There's lots of positives for the city right now. You just have to think positive. I want to help us progress."

No one else has asked for a nomination petition to challenge Jones for mayor, Seely said, but there are two new faces in the City Council race.

Retired soccer coach Francisco Reina said his primary goal is to bring better representation for working class residents to city government.

"I am interested in how we can work together to help support the people who don't have that much money," he said, citing potential problems with how the city charges water usage fees as one example.

Joe Bird, Cook Chevrolet service manager and the other prospective councilor, said he too wants to make Craig a better place to live.

However, he has no premeditated reasons for seeking elected office, he said.

"I have no hidden agenda," Bird said. "Craig's been good to me and my family. It's been a good atmosphere for my kids, especially. That's my reason for running, if you're looking for an agenda."

Nomination packets still are available through Seely's office at City Hall, 300 W. Fourth St. All candidates must return 25 signatures from registered voters living in Craig by March 6.

Residents can find more information on how to run for city office by calling Seely at 826-2008.

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