BISBEE — Former city councilman Ken Budge will take the helm of the council in December as the new mayor of the historic and outspoken town.
Budge garnered a large lead early on and maintained it through the night. Unofficial results show he received 928 votes, 54.17 percent of the vote, to incumbent Mayor David Smith’s 776 votes, 45.30 percent.
Budge explained his win: “My campaign was a small-town grassroots type bringing together longtime residents, businesses people, working class and talking to their neighbors and friends. Mayor Smith had a record this time and I wanted to show the difference between our history and style of governance. I called it the big tent, everybody is welcome to be part of my campaign and a voice in the future of Bisbee.
“I want to thank my supporters and the voters. I am humbled that the residents voted to allow me to serve them as their mayor.”
When asked what the first thing he wanted to do after being sworn in for his two-year term, he said, “My goal starting the first of the year will be to bring Bisbee out of the shutdown when conditions allow and bring our local government closer to the people it serves.”
Incumbent councilman Louis Pawlik scooted to a win in Ward 3 with 242 votes, 51.92 percent of the vote, to Donna Pulling’s 223 votes, 47.65 percent.
Pawlik, who was appointed to the remainder of Gabe Lindstrom’s term last year in July, said, “I never took Ms. Pulling for granted. I suspected the contest would be decided by a handful of votes. I tried to meet with as many people as possible, one-on-one. I left my card on gates and doors, encouraging people to call me to discuss issues. I walked Highway 92 from the fire station to the traffic circle every day since June 7, wearing a campaign tee shirt and waving to passing cars. I was able to help a dozen or so residents of Ward 3 resolve complaints and obtain city service. My strategy seems to have paid off.”
He has set four “simple” goals: “Help Bisbee recover from the present health crisis, reduce spending in an effort to control the budget without raising taxes, encourage economic development in Ward 3 and develop a community park, and continue to help the city manager develop plans for affordable housing in Bisbee.”
Pawlik added, “I would like to thank Mayor Smith for the outstanding leadership he has provided Bisbee during the COVID pandemic and the resulting economic downturn. I have learned much from him, and I know he will continue to hold the best interests of the residents of Bisbee first and foremost. I also congratulate Mr. Budge and look forward to working with the Mayor-elect in an effort to realize our mutual goals.”
Ward 1 councilman Frank Davis and Ward 2 councilwoman Joan Hansen did not face any opposition for their four year terms.
All will be sworn in at the Dec. 1 council meeting.