Payson Mayor Bob Edwards announced today, Friday, he will seek re-election.
"We have decided to ask the voters to allow us to continue for another term," he said in a prepared speech.
The announcement came at a campaign rally of sorts at Fireside Espresso at noon.
Edwards, who was first elected in May 2006, said his decision was one that required a lot of thought.
"Over the past several weeks, Ginger (Schoettinger, Edwards' wife) and I have
spent considerable time wrestling with the past and the future of this process and the role we should play," he said.
Edwards also endorsed council candidates Dave Rutter and Tom Loeffler.
"I will, once more, be running with a team," he said.
Edwards said he feels the town needs at least two more years of his dedication to institutionalize the changes he has made.
"Two years ago, we committed ourselves to the daunting task of changing the face of Payson town government,"
he said. "We have proven that it can be done."
Kenny Evans is also joining the race for Mayor of Payson
Evans is president of the board of directors for Mogollon Health Alliance, chairman of the Zane Grey District of the Boy Scouts of America and a member of the board of directors for the Payson Regional Medical Center.
"We just made the decision in the last 24 hours to run," Evans told the Roundup in a phone interview Friday afternoon, Nov. 16.
He said he has been approached by a number of people -- starting this summer -- about running.
"We are a unique juncture in this community and have an opportunity to move toward positive, long-term benefits for everyone, not just one sector," Evans said.
Evans came to Arizona in the late 1940s with his family. At the time they were migrant farm workers.
"We slept in the car. My sister had the seat, my brother had the floorboard and I was up on the backseat with a view of the stars."
From those hard, lean beginnings Evans went on to have the largest farming operation in the state -- and possibly the nation -- AgTech Company. It was based in Yuma, but there were operations all over the state, so he started coming to the Rim Country in the late 1980s and made Payson his permanent home in 1998.
Over the years, Evans has served in many volunteer leadership roles at all levels and served on the cabinets of five different Arizona governors. He has also worked as a bank president and operated several insurance companies.
"The success of our town pivots on whether or not we are all willing to roll up our sleeves and go to work. I am going to apply the advice my father gave me: surround yourself with good people, give them good, clear direction and then get out of the way and let them do their jobs. It is the philosophy that made it possible for us to go from being migrant farm workers to having the state's largest farming operation."
Evans is having a Web site established so people can learn more about him and his candidacy and is also willing to take questions by phone. He can be reached at (928) 970-0672.
Newcomer throws hat in the ring
Longtime Payson resident Bruce Van Camp has also collected a mayoral candidate packet. His packet has not yet been returned, marking his official candidacy, but he said he intends to run.
"If I can get the 266 signatures, I'll run," he said.
Van Camp, who is currently the chair of the Surface Transportation Advisory Committee and volunteers with the Payson Police and Fire Departments, said he is taking the campaign process "on a day-to-day" basis.
"I think it's time for a change," he said. "I think I can do a good job."
Van Camp said he would expand on current priorities and projects if elected.
"The number one priority is water," he said. "The number two priority is streets and roads and public safety."
Van Camp owns B & B Automotive Machine Parts and Supplies and has lived in Payson more than 35 years. Van Camp said he has never held an elected position before.
Council candidates Michael Hughes, John Wilson, David Rutter and Tom Loeffler have obtained statements of candidacy and are now able to collect signatures from registered voters in Payson.
Greg Friestad has also picked up a council candidate packet, which he has not yet returned. He is therefore not an official candidate at this time.
The mayor and three council spots will be decided in the May election. The seats of Vice Mayor Tim Fruth and councilors Andy Romance and John Wilson are up for election.
The mayor will be elected to a two-year term and councilors will be chosen for a four-year term.
Candidates have until Dec. 12 to obtain at least 266, but no more than 535, signatures from registered voters in Payson.
After the signatures have been verified, the candidates may begin dispersing campaign information.