Winners Rethink Strategy


The race started with eight town council candidates.

The final results, announced March 16, culled two choices: Incumbent Robert Henley and the general manager of Lifestar Ambulance, Charlie Smith.

Now, over the next 60 days, six competitors will campaign for a trio of seats on Payson's Town Council.

During this final stretch, the candidates will capitalize on their personalities and focus on their principles.

Ed Blair, who garnered the most votes with 2,438, said he looks forward to losing a few more pounds while he's out knocking on doors.

"It's good for my fitness program," Blair said. "I have to get back to the streets, to the citizens."

And really, for Blair, the election is about trust.

"I believe that the fact the incumbents did poorly indicates the general citizens do not trust them anymore," he said. "I talk directly to the citizens as opposed to relying on signs and ads."

Su Connell said she will also be on foot in neighborhoods through May to support her cause.

"We're going to do more knocking on doors and walking around," said Connell, who, with 2,042 votes, came in third during the primary. "I would like to go more in depth on some of the issues on my platform."

Connell will rely on her strengths -- her passion for the community, her dedication to literacy and her love of politics -- to refine her campaign goals.

Most of all, Connell seeks to restore trust in local government, making it more accessible to the residents of Payson.

If elected, Connell said she will host visiting hours for Payson residents.

"They may not agree with me, I may not agree with them, but at least I will hear them and they will know where I'm coming from and why I make the decisions I do," Connell said.

Barbara Underwood, who has been in Payson more than 20 years and is the former owner of Mario's Borgata shopping center on Highway 260.

Underwood, who came in fourth in the primary council race, said water, fire and growth are the huge issues, but civic responsibility is important, too.

"I've called people who didn't turn their ballots in," Underwood said. "I know people that just didn't vote. All different excuses from thinking it was the sample ballot to just (forgetting)."

Underwood said she'll set up a booth during the last leg of this election to help newcomers register and to assist those who've moved to update their addresses.

"I think the thing I would have done differently is campaign harder in the last couple weeks," she said. "That's the hard part of mail-in ballot elections, you're not gearing up for a day, you're gearing up for a month so you don't know how to gauge your campaign strategy."

Rick Croy (fifth), Mike Vogel (second) and Diane Sexton (sixth) join Underwood, Connell and Blair in this final push for council posts.

"I have a family and two small children," Croy said, "and I just decided if you want to make a change, you have to get involved."

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