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Pueblo Mayoral Runoff: Who will be brand Pueblo?

Nick Gradisar and Steve Nawrocki have an opportunity to turn this first Mayoral campaign into a new vision for Pueblo.

Illustration PULP.

It’s the most consequential election of Pueblo’s modern history. After months of a crowded election, the best that Pueblo voters could decide is that they liked two candidates fractionally better than 16. The general election was so fragmented that issues and vision were pushed aside because there was no room for anything other than names running for office.

For the first time in Pueblo’s history one person, either longtime Pueblo attorney and organizer of the strong mayor campaign, Nick Gradisar, or former City Council President Steve Nawrocki, will take the reigns of the Steel City.

Instead of approaching the race from the sole perspective of asking candidates questions on a Black Hills off ramp, economic development, jobs, and public safety – the better way to look at this runoff  is through the lens of why Pueblo wanted a mayor in the first place and what the debate should center on in the final weeks.

The general election failed to answer the questions where would Mayor Gradisar or Mayor Nawrocki take Pueblo?

I don’t think it’s possible even to try to solve the Pueblo question – why Pueblo is not moving forward like the rest of Colorado – without understanding how Gradisar or Nawrocki see their Pueblo of the future. How would they lead on vision, stagnation, economic reform, arts and culture, and the lost areas?

In the last decade, Pueblo has been a city mired with a dozen unelected mayors, each pulling the city in various directions. In the past, Pueblo is an industrial town trying to be a convention city. It’s a Hispanic town with chronic poverty trying to be an affordable retirement community with enhanced art and culture amenities.

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