El Paso County’s highest-profile Republican and outgoing Secretary of State Wayne Williams said he’s officially vying for an at-large seat on the Colorado Springs City Council.
After his loss to Democrat Jena Griswold in the November midterms, Williams told The Gazette he was mulling a run for one of three at-large council seats up for grabs in the city’s April election, but first he needed to find a job that would allow him flexibility for the task. Details to that end are still sparse and some are not yet set in stone, but he’s certain enough to cement his bid for the council.
Before his stint in the statehouse, Williams served one term as El Paso County clerk and recorder and two terms as a county commissioner.
Williams said he has about 60 of the 100 signatures of Colorado Springs voters he needs for a place on the April 2 ballot. Wednesday was the first day prospective candidates for Colorado Springs mayor and the three at-large council seats could collect signatures to officially launch their campaigns.
Williams said Wednesday night he hosted an annual frozen yogurt social where he released the news of his impending campaign and had the nominating petition available for folks to sign if they wished.
He’s joined in the field of candidates by at-large incumbents Bill Murray and Tom Strand. The third at-large councilman, Merv Bennett, is term-limited. Air Force veteran and former at-large councilman Val Snider, Army veteran and former county planning commissioner Tony Gioia, former Will Rogers Elementary School principal Terry Martinez and former state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt are also vying for the at-large seats.
If elected, Williams would be in a unique position because his wife, Holly Williams, was elected to the county commission in November. But he said he doesn’t see potential conflicts of interest and would recuse himself if one arises.
Williams said if he’s elected he will focus on transportation and good customer service, among other things. Ensuring the city fulfills its promises regarding stormwater infrastructure is key, he said.
The next council, which also serves as Colorado Springs Utilities’ board of directors, will also likely vote whether to expedite the closure of the coal-fired Martin Drake Power Plant downtown. It’s scheduled to be shuttered no later than 2035.
Williams said he wants to hasten the closure, but it’s too soon to say how quickly it can be done. At the same time the board must ensure efficient and cost-effective power is available for ratepayers, he said.
Williams and the other candidates have until Jan. 22 to collect enough signatures and submit their nominating petitions.