In Greeley mayoral elections, it has been said to be a political kamakazee to run on anything other than a republican platform. But in the November elections, incumbent Tom Norton will have to face a serious challenger, which he has yet to do in the two two-year terms he’s served as mayor.
“I am hoping to infuse some dynamic leadership with a fresh perspective that will work to bring Greeley together. I’ve been doing a lot of grassroots efforts here in the community and I’m excited to help out with some of the impacts of the flood disaster, help with economic revenue and diversifying that revenue stream,” said mayoral candidate Priscilla Resendiz.
She moved to Greeley in early 2012 for a position with Organizing for America in Colorado as part of Obama’s re-election campaign. It was during this time she saw a need for change in Greeley’s leadership and felt she had a chance to be that initiative.
“One of the reasons I chose to run for mayor is because I believe it has been a long time since Greeley had a choice. If you were to compare Tom Norton and I, side-by-side, we are definitely extreme opposites: I’m a woman, he’s a man; I’m Latina, he’s not; I’m bilingual, he’s not; and he’s 73 and I’m 37,” she said.
Another major difference between the candidates: Mayor Norton has resided in Greeley for more than 47 years, Resendiz, hailing from Southern California, has called the city her home for around 20 months.
“The most important difference, to me, is how we manage government. Tom Norton is very top-down. Even with the experience he touts, which is how he usually challenges my efforts, when you look at his experience, it’s very top-down and rarely ever working with people to determine that their needs are being met.”
She was apt to compare leadership, community involvement and government decision making to a conversation, one she said, until now, has been one-sided. She emphasized the importance of communication and collaboration between the people and those that represent them, something that she said has been amiss.
“I will make sure that that pipeline stays open and that we are able to communicate, personalities aside. I think people being dramatic about various things or making noise about issues is just that: making noise. I believe people are tired of that and they just want to find a solution that best impacts everyone all at once. That’s what I would bring to the table.”
Resendiz referenced her history of working in corporate law offices, building firms, helping to start small businesses from scratch and working closely with nonprofits, saying “It’s all grassroots people first.”
“The closest thing people have seen is, recently the mayor was polling electronically … and for me, that’s not what we do. That’s not what our volunteer team does. We all knock on doors, talk to people in person. If you get a phone call, you’re not going to get a robot asking questions. For us that’s not the best way to grow a community or the local leadership.”
Her involvement with the volunteers and campaign team to reelect Obama gave her a chance to hear the issues the people were really interested in from the people themselves. She said it showed her their concerns were not adequately being represented by the local government and decisions were being made without their input.
“The experience Tom Norton brings to the table, as much as infrastructure is important in an organization, I know that the breath and life of an organization is people. And if we’re not cultivating people and bringing them to the table, it’s like the blind leading the blind. I know that Greeley will change with my leadership and I’m actually looking forward to seeing how that will all unfold,” she said.
The issues Resendiz has seen taken precedence on people’s minds: the obvious and unavoidable devastation from the recent floods and the related gas and oil spillage in the county. She seeks to increase school funding so Greeley will be a more attractive and viable home for budding families.
“Why aren’t we attracting industries that can encourage our young-people, graduates of UNC, graduates of Aims to stay here and make a living here?”
She said she is excited to give the young artists, college students, and future business owners of Greeley a choice. And no matter the outcome, she’s just excited to see the future generations of Greeley turn out to make a decision, to get informed and to make a call for themselves.
Greeley’s mayoral elections are Nov. 5, 2013. Voters can vote in person or from home by mail.