Incumbent Mayor Craig Sanderson and council member John Schoppmann will be running for mayor of Tusayan in the Aug. 28 primary election.
All candidates for mayor were invited to submit responses to the questions below. As of press time Aug. 20, council member John Schoppmann had not provided a response.
Why are you running for the position of Mayor?
I have worked and lived in Tusayan for 15 years. I am asking for your vote as mayor. I want to keep Tusayan moving forward making it a great place to live. Tusayan has been responsible spending millions of dollars less than we earn each year while providing financial support to organizations that care for the people of Tusayan. Tusayan Fire Department, Kaibab Learning Center, Grand Canyon Chamber and Visitors Bureau and the children of the Grand Canyon School District are examples of organizations that have benefited from my commitment to the community. I will continue that commitment, staying fiscally responsible while investing in the community.
What qualifies you for this position?
I have served the town of Tusayan for five years as council member, vice mayor and mayor. Just two years ago I became the first directly elected mayor of Tusayan. I am humble and honest which may not be typical of a politician but then again, I am not a typical mayor. I don’t need the glory or credit for the things that the town council has accomplished under my guidance. In short, I am the best candidate for mayor because I care about the people of Tusayan and I’m willing to put them first without any hidden agendas or self-motivating desires.
What are the two biggest needs facing the town of Tusayan?
Development of affordable housing options, regardless if buying or renting; Tusayan residents should have the opportunity to live in a home you can keep as your own independent of your employer and a home you can keep after retirement. Home ownership has been a topic of discussion for over 50 years with no results until now. The town will construct affordable housing to be ready for occupancy in 2019. I will protect these homes for purchase only by those who have worked in Tusayan for at least two years. These homes will remain affordable for future generations by allowing only a reasonable appreciation. With my guidance, the Grand Canyon Housing Foundation, a non-profit organization, will provide assistance for those with lower incomes with down payments and closing costs.
High-speed reliable and affordable Internet access for both business and residents is among my top priorities. Broadband (high speed) internet via fiber-optics is a very real probability for Tusayan in the next few years. In the short term, I believe there is no better investment in our community than to subsidize an internet provider to supply reliable and affordable WiFi access to all residents of Tusayan without a long-term contract and eliminating high upfront costs.
If you could change anything about the town’s current governing process, what would it be?
I wouldn’t change anything. Tusayan’s governing process is well founded by many other cities and towns. When failures occur, it is not the process that is broken; it is the failure to follow the process. I don’t believe that applies to the town of Tusayan. Our town is on excellent financial standing. The town council members are diverse in experience and opinions and yet with my guidance we more often than not come to a unanimous decision and provide effective direction to the town manager.