Blain Petersen has announced his candidacy for the Essex mayoral race, joining two others vying for the position. Mayor Marion Durfey tendered her resignation effective at the end of the year. The election will be held Nov. 2.
Petersen and his wife, Kay, have lived in Essex since 2000. Blain Petersen said he moved to Essex so his two children could grow up in a small town and attend a small school district with the opportunity for one-on-one education. Petersen owns Petersen Auto in Shenandoah, but when he has free time, he races dirt track cars and has done so for over 38 years. He included, “Because I am in Shenandoah during the day, I volunteer at the Shenandoah Fire Department. I am also employed by EMS at the Shenandoah Medical Center. We also respond to and assist Essex for EMS calls.”
According to Petersen, the best quality of Essex is that it is a small, friendly community.
“When I moved here, everyone was warm and welcoming,” he said.
He said that another quality is that people who live in Essex want to see growth and prosperity.
Petersen feels that Essex needs to work on bringing jobs to the area and continuing to work on keeping their school. Another pressing issue is the infrastructure of the city.
“We need to get on a schedule for redoing streets and alleyways, and I feel that cities have forgotten about deeper issues like the sewer systems,” he said.
His vision for Essex in the next 10 to 20 years is to have more businesses in the area to keep families in town. A top goal is still having the preK-12 school in town. If Peterson received a $1 million grant to use for the city any way he wanted, he would improve the streets and sewer systems.
“I would also put up some general buildings in the business district so we would have buildings for new businesses to start up, as well as build more homes in the city,” he said.
The greatest strength Petersen will bring to Essex as mayor, he said, is his positive thinking.
“I am also direct, honest and straightforward. I am not someone to beat around the bush on things,” he said. “I am (excited) to work with the citizens of Essex and listen to their concerns.”
Although Petersen does not yet know what challenges he will face as mayor, he is confident he will work diligently to make positive changes and listen to citizens’ and city council members’ concerns. He included ways he plans to involve residents in the decision-making process. “I plan to send out a survey to see what concerns or questions citizens may have. And I will take phone calls from citizens and have face-to-face conversations.”
He feels that besides working closely with the city council and clerk, his role as mayor will be to listen to the citizens, business owners and school administrators to see how they can all work together to make Essex a better place to live. He concluded with, “As mayor, I would like to keep the community and school growing and prospering.”