Hot Sheet

Blink and you’ll miss all the hats flying into the ring in Pueblo’s mayoral race

Author: Dan Njegomir - March 21, 2018 - Updated: March 21, 2018

(iStock image / JimVallee)

Seems like just yesterday that Hot Sheet noted a sixth candidate had joined in the running for mayor in Pueblo, whose voters restored the position last fall after having gone without an elected chief exec since the 1950s. Good thing the Pueblo Chieftain’s Ryan Severance is keeping on top of things. Two more contenders are in the race, Severance reports; they’re Pueblo City Councilman Larry Atencio and most recently Nicholas Ayers.

In his latest wrap-up on the race, Severance quotes Ayers, a 25-year-old bank employee, political newcomer and Pueblo native:

‘What I really want to do is make sure employers we already have stay here, that we can attract new employers and that we facilitate the growth of more local businesses…My hope is to show the burgeoning potential of Pueblo and to channel that energy into an actionable plan … The goal is to continue to build a city where old traditions meet new innovations and converge onto the modern world.’

Puebloans passed a ballot measure last fall reinstating the mayor’s post and vesting it with powers that top anything wielded by the City Council. Notably, the mayor gets to run the city as the its full-time chief executive, replacing the city manager. It’s a “strong mayor” form of local government — the kind implemented long ago in Denver and adopted by voters in Colorado Springs in 2010.

The other declared mayoral candidates in addition to Ayers and Atencio are:

  • Former Pueblo City Council President Steven Nawrocki.
  • Nick Gradisar, the prominent Pueblo attorney who led the campaign to re-establish the mayor’s post.
  • Jackie Massey, a retired college debate coach who moved to Pueblo last year.
  • Janet Wilson, an East Side Pueblo activist, banker and financial planner.
  • Russell Martinez, a boiler maker by trade who has worked on some prominent local projects.
  • Lori Winner, a former member of the City Council.

Pueblo voters will pick their new mayor in next November’s general election — unless a second, runoff election is necessary. That phase of the process its still being fine-tuned by the City Council. You can read a recap of that issue here.

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.