Even though the town's primary election is still five months away, Payson resident Dick Wolfe announced this week that he plans to run for the Payson Town Council. "I want to get the message out early," Wolfe said Thursday. "Things fly around this town rather quickly, and I was being approached by a lot of people asking me if I was going to run or not. Maybe the timing's not perfect, but I also might be able to convince more people by announcing early."
Wolfe said rumors began to surface several weeks ago that he intended to join Council member Ray Schum and Mayor Vern Stiffler in the race for mayor.
"That rumor got around real fast," he said. "I gave it some thought, but clearly I need some experience on the council. If I get elected and can get some of my ideas implemented, then maybe I'll take another look at the mayor's office."
Wolfe and his wife, Marilyn, moved to Payson in 1991 after they retired. He was director of Arizona Department of Building and Fire Safety; director of the Arizona Office of Manufactured Housing, deputy director for the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures, a former special chief agent to the Arizona Attorney Generals Office, and he served for five years as a police officer in San Diego.
"Now, I work to design and create silver jewelry," he said.
During his eight years in Payson, Wolfe has served as exhibits chairman and past president of the Northern Gila County Historical Society, vice president of the Tonto Community Concert Association, and chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission.
He said his best accomplishment to date, however, has been chairing the Green Valley Redevelopment Committee, a group that is working to revitalize the town's Main Street neighborhood.
He also feels he has the experience and desire to lead the town down a new path.
"I do think the town needs a new direction very badly," he said. "I've been chairman of P&Z, I've been chairman of Main Street down there, and it's given me insight into what needs to be done.
That's what my vision is going to be: new direction."
The Town of Payson's primary election is March 14, 2000. Three council terms, for seats held by Barbara Brewer, Ray Schum and Jack Monschein, and the mayor's position, held by Stiffler, will expire next year.
Stiffler and Schum have announced that they intend to run for the mayor's seat.