Contenders Declare Intentions For Council, Mayor's Race

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Seven candidates have filed statements of organization with Payson Town Clerk Silvia Smith, indicating their intention to run for either mayor or town council in the primary election on March 12.

Candidates for mayor include Councilmember Ken Murphy, Diane Sexton and Jim White. Mayor Ray Schum has announced he will not seek re-election.

The following are brief comments from each of the candidates about their reasons for wanting to seek public office.

Ken Murphy

Councilmember Ken Murphy says he is running for mayor because people have encouraged him to.

"They support me because of my experience, my intellect and my candor," he said. "I have been in Arizona all my life and in Payson for the past 17 years.

"I love this town and have served it as a registered nurse, firefighter and on (various) boards and commissions. I am clearly the best candidate for mayor."

Diane Sexton

Raised in Payson, challenger Diane Sexton says she is running so the voice of the people will be heard something she said is not happening now.

"I want the people to run our town, not just a few with a different agenda than the rest of the community," she said. "We the people of Payson can bid our own business, and we need to turn our town back over to the people. Out of 8,000-plus registered voters, approximately 2,600 chose to vote in the last election."

Jim White

Candidate Jim White says he intends to use his experience and leadership skills to resolve the issues facing the town including finding new jobs, increasing sales tax revenue and encouraging middle income housing.

"As our nation works through an economic downturn, it is critical to have a mayor who supports our local business community and works to bring new business and jobs to Payson," White said. "I can and will do this.

"We live in a high desert community where water concerns will always be with us. But under my leadership, we will aggressively move forward to obtain additional water sources and conserve this precious resource...."

Council contenders

Four candidates are currently running for three vacancies on the Payson Town Council. The following are their statements about why they're tossing their hats into the ring.

Judy Buettner

Experience, background, desire and ability are the attributes that Judy Buettner says she will bring to the council.

"Payson is a wonderful town," she said, "and I want to do what I can to further the vision of Payson as a strong, healthy community meeting the needs of all its citizens."

Issues Buettner has identified include water, growth and development and protecting Payson's identity.

"My experience in political service has given me the skills to promote a spirit of cooperation and negotiation between disparate interests...."

Robert Henley

Resident Robert Henley says he is running for Town Council to address a need for councilmembers who will address challenges facing the town by aggressively seeking and analyzing information, and then making a reasoned decision that best serves the community.

"I have the analytical skills, business acumen, and the experience to accomplish this," he said.

"I will proactively address the issues that face Payson, including acquiring new water resources, promoting business development, improving our street and drainage infrastructure, and protecting our quality of life."

Ken Knapp

A Payson resident for 14 years, Ken Knapp says he is running because he has become increasingly concerned about certain issues "all of them revolving around the way the citizens' water and money are being spent," he said. "For too many years, local elected officials have supported developers and their investors and told the public it was for their own good," he said. "We have neglected our streets, taken our water supply down to incredibly dangerous levels, treated local businesses like stepchildren, and recently created very poor relations with the U.S. Forest Service.

"I stand for taking care of our own first with growth coming second."

John Wilson

A 10-year resident of Payson, John Wilson says he is running for Town Council for a simple reason he cares.

"I care about the people. I care about water. I care about economic development," he said. "This town is going to grow, and I would like to be there to help it grow in the right direction."

The three winners in the council race will replace Murphy, Hoby Herron and Jim Spencer, whose terms are expiring.

Candidates have until 5 p.m. Dec. 12 to file nominating petitions.

The deadline to register to vote in the election is 5 p.m. Feb. 11, 2002.

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