Pictured: The councils of Miami and Globe are in for changes this election season, as incumbents Susan Hanson and Rosemary Castenada will not seek re-elction in Miami and Lerry Alderman and Roberta Johnson will not enter the race in Globe. Photo courtesy Linda Oddonetto/City of Globe.
Election season in Gila County is in full swing and the Globe and Miami council races will see some changes in leadership as last Wednesday, May 30 was the deadline for candidates to submit signatures and final packets to get into the races.
In the non-partisan city council race in Globe, there will be six candidates where three seats are up for grabs.
The Globe council is comprised of six representatives from distinct districts in the community. This year, the third, fourth and fifth district seats are in play.
District 3 incumbent Roberta Johnson will not seek re-election this year, as she plans to move to Florence to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren, who are nearing high school age. Her son was murdered in Globe in 2010, so her daughter is her only surviving child.
“We’re Minnesota transplants who have been here since 1981,” she said. ‘Globe has been a great place to raise our kids, but we feel like we’re missing out on the lives of our grandchildren.”
Although she leaves Globe at the end of her term, Johnson has not ruled out getting involved in politics in Florence.
“I’m proud of what this and the previous council have done,” she said. “There have been upgrades in wastewater treatment and we resolved a pension issue that would have left us $12 million in debt.
She added that the sole candidate for her seat, Jesse Leetham, will add diversity to council.
Although Leetham is the only candidate for the district, he still has to go through the election process, according to Globe City Manager Paul Jepson.
“If one of the candidates gets 50 percent or greater of the vote in the primary, then they will be deemed the winner and that district election will not be on General Election Ballot in November,” he wrote in a recent email.
There is a possibility there could be write-in candidates between now and the primary election date that could change the makeup of each district’s election.
“You could have a write in candidate pull paperwork that would allow them campaign to have supporters literally write in their name on the ballot,” Jepson continued. “That would be included in the calculation of votes cast.”
In District 6, Lerry Alderman will not seek re-election, due to health concerns and the wishes of his wife. Alderman had a massive heart attack in late January and says he has lost 80 percent of his functionality.
“My wife told me that anyone over the age of 70 shouldn’t be in office anymore,” he said. “It takes a lot of time to be a councilmember if you take it seriously.”
Alderman, who has been in Globe since 2005 after a 28-year career at the Palo Verde nuclear power plant, added that he decided he would rather spend his energy serving God as a deacon at Central Heights Baptist Church. He also wants to spend more time with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Candidates for Alderman’s seat are Joe Skamel and Fernando Shipley.
In District 4, which encompasses downtown Globe, incumbent Mike Stapleton will have two challengers, one a familiar opponent who previously spent eight years on council, Dezi Baker. Both men own downtown businesses, the Copper Hen and Vida e Caffe, respectively.
The three-way race will also include Sam Palmer.
Miami Town Council elections are also non-partisan, although they are not done by district. There are four seats up for grabs during a critical time in the history of the town, those of Mayor Darryl Dalley, and councilmembers Angel Medina, Susan Hanson and Rosemary Castenada.
Dalley and Medina have thrown their hats into the ring once again, but neither Hanson nor Castenada have chosen to seek re-election.
The long-serving pair have ridden the ups and downs of recent Miami history and both have served the community through the auspices of Miami Genesis, which seeks to fund urban renewal projects by pursuing grants, and Habitat for Humanity, which creates low-cost, sweat-equity homes for low-income residents.
Hanson has chosen to step away to take care of her aging mother who had a stroke and recently broke her hip. She will be spending more time in the Valley, although still plans to be active in Miami’s urban renewal efforts.
“I’m staying with Miami Genesis and Habitat,” Hanson said. “And there are more projects coming.”
Castenada said she made the decision after a “great deal of thought and soul-searching.”
In a letter to the Silver Belt (to be published next week), Castenada expressed her love for the town and the recent accomplishments of the municipality.
“This is a hard decision for me and comes with regrets as it comes at a time when Miami is finishing the sewer project and road repairs loom,” she wrote. “These are huge, expensive and critical projects for the future of the Town.”
Additionally, she praised town staff, particularly Town Manager Joe Heatherly, for the professionalism they have displayed in the past few years.
“The leadership of this Town is in excellent hands with Town Manager, Joe Heatherly. He came on board when this Town was in dire straits. Through his hard work, ingenuity and dedication he has overcome tremendous difficulties and righted this Town in ways that only those who work directly with him can know. This Town was truly blessed when he took the position of town manager.”
Castenada too, will continue her efforts to create a more beautiful and economically sustainable community.
In addition to Dalley and Medina, the Miami election will include Randal Prosser, Don Reiman, Patty Warden, and Dan Moat.
County elections are light this year, due to the “Gubernatorial Cycle,” according to Elections Director Eric Mariscal, who said there is usually more in play during presidential election cycles.
The only contested election in the County is the Justice of the Peace Globe Regional, a partisan race featuring two Democrats, Mike Fane and Jordan Reardon, and Republican Mario Villegas.
In other election news, the latest numbers on registered voters in Arizona from the Secretary of State’s office are as follows.
Total number of persons registered to vote is 3,610,377, of which 1,258,994 are Republicans, 1,223,219 are others (Independents, non-partisan etc.), 1,090,310 are Democrats, 31,072 are Libertarians, 6,782 are Green Party voters.
In Gila County, the total number of registered voters is 30,838, of which 12,974 are Republicans, 8,531 are others (Independents, non-partisan, etc.), 9,123 are Democrats, 180 are Libertarians, 31 are Green Party voters.
According to the Gila County Recorder’s office, July 30 is the deadline to be registered to vote for the Aug. 28 primary election. Deadline for early ballot request in Aug. 27. Further information can be obtained by contacting the Recorder’s office in Globe at 928-402-8740.
Ted Lake contributed to this report. He can be reached at [email protected]