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Sun, Aug. 09

<b>Get informed on issues; attend <br>candidate forum</b>

The March 12 primary election is rapidly approaching.

To help Williams residents sound out local candidates’ stance on election issues, we invite the public to attend a candidate forum 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20 in the Williams Elementary/Middle School auditorium, 601 N. Seventh St.

The Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce and the Williams-Grand Canyon News are co-sponsoring the forum. Judge Bill Sutton, city magistrate and justice of the peace, will serve as moderator.

If you, as our readers, have any issues you would like to see these candidates address at the forum, we urge you to pass them on to us in the near future for our consideration. There will also be an opportunity for members of the public to submit candidate questions to Judge Sutton during the forum.

For the next three weeks, we will be running candidate interviews finishing up in the Feb. 27 edition. To be as fair as possible, we fielded our questions to all the candidates prior to publishing any interviews.

Also, it is a long-standing policy at the News, that no letters to the editor or guest viewpoints will be accepted regarding the candidates or political issues the week prior to the election. Doing so would give an unfair advantage the person who penned the item since there would no opportunity for rebuttal before votes are cast.

In the past, we’ve received thought provoking, insightful letters too late to publish. So if you have an opinion, allot your time and get it to us prior to the March 6 edition. Let us know how you feel before it’s too late.

Seven brave souls are vying for the office of mayor and the three city council seats up for grabs — three incumbents, three newcomers and one former council member. All should be commended for the commitment they have made in seeking office to serve their community.

Remember, at the local level an individual’s efforts can have profound consequences on our town. City council makes decisions that vitally effect Williams residents — decisions ranging from specific measures including zoning variances and parking restrictions, to broader issues such as economic development and permanently alleviating water shortages.

Ken Edes, current mayor, is seeking re-election. Edes, a local minister and 12-year resident, has served on city council since he was appointed in 1993. He was elected to city council for two consecutive terms beginning in 1994. In 1999, he resigned his city council seat to run for mayor.

Mike Morgan, owner of Williams Executive Center and Main Street president, is also seeking the office of mayor. Morgan has resided in Williams for three years.

In Williams, the office of mayor is a two-year term. Once elected, it’s up to the mayor to appoint a vice-mayor. City council members serve four-year terms.

The two incumbent council members running are Don Dent and Cary Price. Dent, an insurance agent and lifelong resident, has served on city council the past 10 years. Price, a 24-year resident who retired from the Forest Service, initially served on city council from 1988-92. In 2000, Price was appointed to finish out the two years remaining on the city council seat vacated by Edes when he was elected mayor.

Joyce Sullivant, lifelong resident and former council member, is also running. Sullivant, an innkeeper, sat on city council from 1996-2000.

Newcomers vying for council seats include John Girvin and Michael F. Vasquez. Girvin, a Williams resident for the past six years, retired here from the electrical construction trade. Vasquez, a nineteen-year resident, is owner of Alternative Impressions and a Williams-Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce board member.

Home Rule, will be also up for voter approval in the Williams primary election. Basically, Home Rule allows local elected officials to set the city’s annual budget. Without this measure the state would mandate the total amount the city can spend.

Out of 71 cities and towns statewide, 57 currently operate under the Home Rule option. Voter approval is required for Home Rule every four years.

A third item on the March 12 ballot will be the Williams Unified School District Budget Override currently in effect. Voters throughout the school district will be asked to choose whether or not they want it to continue at full funding. A public hearing on the override is set for 6:30 p.m. March 6 in the auditorium of WEMS.

Since the city election can actually be decided at the primary, we urge you to decide which four candidates you want in office. Should any candidate receive a majority of the number of votes cast that day, he or she will be elected. In the event the primary doesn’t decide who wins office, a general run-off election will be held May 21.

Cast an informed ballot on March 12.

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