Derek Duran steps into mayor’s role as Ryan Hess resigns; Randy Looper appointed to Craig City Council seat

Eli Pace
Craig Press
Craig Mayor Ryan Hess delivers the State of the City address during the State of the Community event presented by the Craig Chamber on Feb. 1, 2023, at the Pavilion. Hess resigned as mayor on Monday, June 6, 2023.
Eli Pace/Craig Press

On Monday, Craig Mayor Ryan Hess submitted his resignation to City Council, saying he intends to move away from the city in the coming days. 

Announced Friday afternoon, Craig City Council called a special meeting to address the mayor’s resignation and fill the empty council seat created by Hess’ departure.

Before Hess resigned Monday, council member Chris Nichols resigned as mayor pro tem and nominated council member Derek Duran to fill the role that takes the mayor’s place in the event of a resignation. Council unanimously approved Duran’s nomination.

“Congratulations, Derek, you’re the new assistant mayor,” Hess said after the vote. “With that being said, I resign because I will no longer be a resident of the city of Craig as of the 8th of this month.”

Hess then gave up his seat, and Duran moved over to take the mayor’s place leading the meeting.

After thanking Hess for this service, City Council passed a motion to appoint Nichols as the mayor pro tem again.

Following a brief discussion, City Council then appointed Randy Looper, the second highest vote-getter when the last opening on council arose a few weeks ago, to take the open City Council seat.

“I’ve worked with Randy on many different organizations and he performs,” Nichols said. “He shows up, he participates and he follows through.”

There was some discussion among council members about whether to move forward with the appointment or hold interviews with potential candidates. However, given that the last round of interviews were held only a few weeks ago and because the term for the City Council appointment will only run through November, most council members supported Looper’s appointment to fill the opening.

Vicki Huyser, who was appointed onto City Council in May to fill Sean Hovorka’s seat, voted against the appointment while council member Paul James abstained.

Heading into this November’s election, there will be five City Council seats up for grabs. City Manager Peter Brixius said there were a lot of strong candidates who applied to fill Hovorka’s seat and he believes that could bode well for November.

“We had a number of great candidates,” Brixius said. “I hope they choose to continue on and run in November with their name on the ballot.”

Anyone interested in learning more about running for City Council should reach out to City Clerk Liz White at 970-826-2008 or via email at

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