BERLIN – Mayor Gee Williams is still committed to building a better Berlin.
That, he says, is why he’s seeking a third consecutive term as mayor of the historic town. Williams filed for reelection Monday, just days before the Sept. 2 deadline. He will face Council member Lisa Hall in October’s election. Hall will vacate her council seat to run for mayor.
“Building on the work that has been ongoing for over two decades, I wish to continue to serve the citizens of Berlin in helping to add some more important blocks to a foundation that will allow our community to prosper, not just today but for the generations who will follow, while preserving our unique quality of life that is precious to all of us,” Williams said.
Williams joined the group on the dais as a councilman in 2003 after years of living in and covering town politics for local newspapers. Working as a reporter, he was a familiar face in Berlin Town Hall long before he was elected.
“I’ve been in town hall most second and fourth Monday nights in my life,” he joked.
When then-Mayor Tom Cardinale died suddenly in the spring of 2008, Williams, as council vice president, was charged with finishing out Cardinale’s term.
“I had the privilege of test driving the job of mayor before I decided to file,” he said.
After just a couple months as acting mayor, he decided he wanted to keep the position and filed for election that fall. He’s led the town ever since.
“Serving as Berlin’s mayor for the past eight years has been one of the most challenging, but also rewarding, experiences of my life,” Williams said. “I believe that by actively encouraging partnerships with all levels of government, the business community, advocates for environmental stewardship, and with citizens in every neighborhood, we have made significant strides in our ongoing effort to become a better Berlin.”
He sees the key issues facing the town relate to growth and transportation. He believes one of the town’s challenges will be creating and developing a plan for long-term growth while another will be developing a multi-modal transportation system that provides more options for walking and biking in Berlin. The principles of “Smart Growth America” should play a role in the process, he says.
“A stable and growing local economy is very important, but must always be balanced with preserving our small town charm and a real sense of interpersonal connections,” Williams said. “Smart Growth does not mean no growth, or even highly restrained growth. It does require putting different areas and assets in our community to their best use while maintaining our ongoing commitment of balancing economic opportunity with a quality of life that is based on our common sense of place.”
The mayor says he sees this fall’s election as one in which citizens can vote to maintain the direction the town has been taking or vote to reverse course.
“I strongly believe Berlin should not get caught-up in the negative outlook, extreme pessimism and cynical attitude that some people have succumbed to in their outlook about our nation’s future,” he said. “In Berlin we have so much to be grateful for, but we must never rest on our laurels and take our community for granted. Everything that Berlin has achieved has been the result of first believing in each other, rolling up our sleeves and going to work to meet the challenges and opportunities we collectively face, and just as importantly, being grateful for all we have and share together.”
This fall’s election is scheduled for Oct. 4. As of Tuesday, Williams and Hall had filed for mayor while residents Zackery Tyndall and Jack Orris had filed for the District 2 council seat — the one currently held by Hall.