This past week, Nevada city councilman Brett Barker announced his candidacy for the office of mayor of the city of Nevada.
In his announcement on July 15, Barker, 33, who serves in one of the council’s at-large seats, said, “After months of prayerful consideration, along with discussion with my family and friends, I’m excited to announce my candidacy for the mayor of Nevada this November.
“Like you,” his statement continued, “my family and I are proud to call Nevada our home. Having the opportunity to live, work and raise our children in Nevada has truly been a blessing for our family.”
Barker said that during his five years as a member of the Nevada City Council, he’s proud that the community has chosen to be forward-thinking, innovative in its approach to addressing challenges and focused on ensuring an enhanced quality of life for all of the community’s residents.
“I’ve been on the City Council for a while,” Barker said. “We’re just at a really critical time with a lot of big initiatives on the horizon, so I think it’s important to have some institutional knowledge and some continuity there with the current mayor not running for re-election.”
Mayor Lynn Lathrop said he made up his mind not to run a couple weeks ago. “I have been back and forth whether or not to run again, and talking to my wife and others, I decided not to,” he said.
Lathrop, who has served as mayor since Nov. 12, 2013, and who just took on new duties as a Story County Veterans Affairs commissioner, said he’ll be busy with that new responsibility. “With an ever-increasing number of veterans returning home, the Story County Veterans Affairs director and his team … will be working hard to support their needs.”
Barker said in looking ahead, he sees that the community will be faced with several major projects, including a new wastewater treatment plant, downtown reconstruction and revitalization, the building of a community recreation center and issues surrounding potential changes to U.S. Highway 30.
“So all of those things are coming up here in the next few years that we will have to manage,” Barker said.
Barker added that he thinks he’s the right person for that job.
“The next mayor of Nevada will need to lead our community through these challenges,” Barker stated. “As mayor, I will work tirelessly to address the challenges facing our community by working with our City Council, city staff and the residents of Nevada to identify and implement solutions.”
Barker said he looks to work with residents to develop a 21st century communications strategy that can better provide timely information and gather community feedback; continue to strengthen our community’s economic development efforts; identify public-private partnerships that will be necessary for our downtown reconstruction and revitalization projects and continually improve the city’s infrastructure to better meet the community’s needs.
In a press release announcing his candidacy, he said, “I look forward to earning your trust and your vote this November, and am very much looking forward to serving our community as our next mayor,” he said.
Barker was first sworn in as a Nevada City Council member, representing Ward 3, in 2010. Professionally, he is the vice president of operations for NuCara Pharmacy. He came to Nevada in 2008, after graduating from the University of Iowa with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. In Nevada, he began his employment with NuCara Pharmacy. Barker is a member of the Nevada Economic Development Council board of directors, Nevada Community Band and he is the Nevada Recreation Center Task Force chairman.
Barker said that being a member of the Nevada City Council for the last five years has given him the experience necessary to be a successful mayor.
“I think, obviously, the City Council experience is the most valuable here because I’ve worked with the city administrators, both the former one and now the current one, and worked with the council currently, have a really good feel for the leaders throughout the community and have a pretty good pulse on what the residents in the community also are looking for. So, I think all those things help a lot,” Barker said.
Along with the work Barker has done in the county, his wife, Tracy works as a radiologic technologist at Story County Medical Center. The couple are the parents of three daughters.
Lathrop offered one word of advice to the person who succeeds him as mayor. “Keep focused on the big items while managing the small ones. Stay open to everyone’s ideas and always take time to listen.”
At this time, the Nevada Journal has received no other announcements of people running for mayor. Obviously, Barker’s at-large seat on the council will be one of the open seats in this year’s city election.
Brett Barker’s decision to run for mayor means there will be four council member seats up for election this year in Nevada, along with the position of mayor.
The terms of Andrew Kelly, Ward 2; Ray Schwichtenberg, Ward 4; and Brian Hanson, at-large, all expire. Barker will vacate another at-large seat as he seeks the mayor’s office.
The Nevada has received no official notification yet, other than from Mayor Lynn Lathrop and Barker, for other candidates planning to or not to run for election or re-election.
The filing period for persons who seek to run for any of these positions begins Monday, Aug. 28 and ends Thursday, Sept. 21. In Nevada, a person wanting to run for any elected position must have at least 25 signatures to file. For ward positions, the signatures must come from within that ward.
This year, city clerks in the county have been designated by the Story County Auditor to receive nomination papers from those who are filing.