With several big ticket items on the plate for Medford in the next two years, including a Main Street reconstruction project and the need to address the wastewater treatment plant, Lois Nelson simply hasn’t had the time to think about filing for another term as mayor.
“It’s only the first week of the new year,” Nelson laughed. “I’ve been rather busy just dealing with our present our future, and trying to build upon our past.”
While the filing period begins in May, she hasn’t given a lot of thought to the fact that her term will be coming up at the end of this year.
Nelson added that knowing all the projects in Medford’s near future and the fact that she has “high energy and good health” she is positive that she’ll be running again.
“It’s good to have a seasoned person who has some history regarding our infrastructure at the helm,” she said. “I feel like I am respected because while I may not say what everyone wants to hear, they know I’ve done my homework and research and reached out to the right people when it comes to making a decision.”
Nelson has a long history with holding the top seat for Medford’s local government. After being elected to city council in 1995 and serving for two years, she said that she was encouraged by a number of residents to run for mayor. She was elected and served until 2001 when Dan Kaiser was elected mayor.
“I thought I did my civic best as it was,” Nelson stated. “But after I retired in 2011 and was walking the streets with purpose, residents and business people started saying that they’re really like to see me back because of things they felt weren’t being communicated or done properly.”
In 2012, Nelson was re-elected as mayor and has been in the seat ever since, running unopposed twice. Though she hasn’t had the 2020 election on her radar yet, Nelson pleased with what she’s been able to do for her community thus far.
“I’d like to feel like I’ve finished up the biggest issues around infrastructure and hopefully there will be others at the council table now or on various board that will share their strengths and inputs on what’s best for the city,” she said. “While we certainly have enough on our plate, when the time comes [to file] I will give it serious consideration.”
Nelson is not alone in not putting too much thought into seeking another term, veteran Marie Sexton echoed similar sentiments. Sexton, who has been a part of city council on and off since 1996, said she never worries about an election ahead of time, despite this year being the end of yet another term under her belt.
“I’ve done this for so many years that I don’t plan yes or no,” Sexton said. “I’ll think about it when it comes time to file. I don’t worry about whether or not I’m running ahead of time. I just let it evolve.”
Sexton also noted that there is currently a lot on Medford’s plate at this time, adding that she believes having an experienced council is the most effective way to get things done.
“Big things need to be accomplished,” she stated. “It helps to have a background and not be a novice when it comes to these types of projects.”
Though getting the projects underway is certainly a priority for Sexton, she added that getting credit for the projects is far from her motivation to serve on city council.
“I don’t do it for myself,” she said. “I have brought more money to the city in grants than I’ve ever been paid to be there. I like to contribute what I can and I appreciate being able to help Medford out.”
“Will I file?” Sexton continued. “If I feel I can continue to help the community out, yes.”
Matt Dempsey’s term on city council also expires in 2020. Dempsey did not return calls seeking comment on whether or not he plans to seek re-election.