Craig Terry Carwile will retain his seat as mayor of Craig after defeating councilman Ray Beck in Tuesday’s municipal election. Other incumbents didn’t fare as well.
Gene Bilodeau was the only City Council incumbent to win one of the three seats up for grabs. Challengers Tony Bohrer and Jarrod Ogden took the other two seats, with incumbents Jennifer Riley and Byron Willems failing to garner enough votes to stay in office. Newcomer John Smith also fell short in his bid for a spot on City Council.
Carwile, who defeated Beck by a vote of 836 to 743, was pleased with the results.
“The community has shown me consistent support, and I look forward to working with the new council folks,” he said Tuesday night.
Beck will still serve on the City Council. He said he plans to continue to work to push the community forward.
“I came into this with a positive attitude,” Beck said. “I’m going to continue to serve the community. I’ve got two years left (as a councilman) and am looking forward to them.”
Bilodeau, the top vote-getter of the six council hopefuls, was ecstatic about the support he received from Craig voters.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “You never know the results until you see them, and we had some good candidates running, so I guess I must be doing some things right.”
For Ogden, a first-time candidate at 37, his election was the realization of a dream he’s had for years, but had to put on hold.
“I was not necessarily expecting to win, but I wanted to give it a shot,” he said. “Ever since I was about 20 I’ve wanted to be in politics in some way, but I had kids young and so this kind of had to take a back seat. I’m really looking forward to serving Craig as best I can.”
Bohrer, 30, ran for City Council in the previous election but did not win. The second time proved to be the charm.
“We ran last time and didn’t get it,” Bohrer said. “It’s a huge honor. I was born and raised in this town. I’m committed to this town.”
Bilodeau received 997 votes, Bohrer got 827 and Ogden had 798. Riley was next with 711 votes. She was followed by Willems (664 votes) and Smith (510 votes).
While Carwile and current council members said they were looking forward to working with new council members to get a fresh perspective, they also praised the work of Riley and Willems during their time.
“I enjoyed worked with them and thought that we worked very well together,” Bilodeau said. “The good news is we have some new people on board, but the bad news is we’re also losing people.”
Carwile called the departing council members an “important voice in the community,” and said he hopes they continue to stay involved.
Moving forward, the mayor and council members see a variety of issues as important, but most touched on the coming results of the downtown revitalization economic assessment.
“I look forward to seeing the results of it so we can get going on making some changes,” Carwile said.
Another key issue face by Craig in Bilodeau’s eyes is creating a more diverse economic structure due to the uncertain future of the energy industry. A major goal, he said, will be to create that diversity.
The new members of the council said they realize there will be a learning curve. But they are looking forward to jumping in and helping.
“Part of it is understanding that you’re just one guy on the council,” Bohrer said. “One of my biggest goals is to educate and communicate to people what’s going on in Craig. I think you can avoid a lot of heartache just by educating.”