John Ponikvar announces bid for mayor of Craig
John Ponikvar’s voice was full of enthusiasm Sunday when he announced his bid to be the next mayor of Craig.
“I just think there’s a lot of great opportunity in Craig right now,” he said. “Look at how the community is coming together for the future of Craig.”
Anyone who knows Ponikvar knows his passion for the community, and he — like many others — wants to see Craig grow.
“I think the biggest role as mayor and city council is to diversify our community,” he said. “I want to continue to upgrade our infrastructure and make it a better place to live.”
The city council and mayoral elections take place April 4. Three city council positions will be on the ballot, as well as mayor.
Craig’s current mayor, Ray Beck, won a seat on the board of Moffat County Commissioners in November, leaving the mayor’s position open.
Kent Neilson will take over as mayor pro tem when Beck assumes his role as county commissioner in January.
Ponikvar said he spoke with Neilson about the position.
“I talked to him, and he wasn’t interested in running for mayor. I don’t know anyone else who is considering it,” Ponikvar said.
Neilson did not return a phone call seeking comment Sunday.
Jarrod Ogden, Kent Neilson and Tony Boyer are all up for re-election. It’s not known if they plan to run or if others in the community will run for their seats.
All three council members were unsuccessfully contacted Sunday for comment after Ponikvar announced his bid for mayor. The newspaper will update readers about their intentions to run once each candidate is reached.
Ponikvar always has wanted a big leadership role in Moffat County.
“I’ve been working toward the goal of running for county commissioner or mayor,” he said, noting that, because he runs a business full-time, the mayor position is more practical for him.
He owns and operates Napa Auto Parts – T&H Parts in Craig and is in the middle of his first term as a city council member.
Craig’s mayor can serve three two-year terms, and city council members can serve two four-year terms.
Much is changing at the city level. City council is currently searching for a new city manager. Council has narrowed the pool to three candidates, all of whom will be at a community open house at from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday at City Hall.
“If elected, I look forward to working with the city council, city employees and residents to build a bright future for Craig, in spite of our challenges. Economic diversification will allow us to provide quality services at affordable costs to our residents, while maintaining a balanced budget. The city council has collaborated with city staff to make critical budget cuts,” Ponikvar said in a news release.
His wife is equally excited about the opportunity.
“I’m very excited about him deciding to run for mayor. If he gets elected, I think he’ll do a terrific job for the citizens of Craig. He’s just very passionate about our community, and he wants what’s best for the city, especially with some of the challenges we have,” Corrie Ponikvar said.
Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or nriley@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @noelleleavitt.Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or nriley@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @noelleleavitt.
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Andy Bockelman covers MoCo sports with an uncommon passion.