The city without a mayor soon will be no longer as Pueblo voters will elect the cities’ first full-time mayor Tuesday.
Former Pueblo City Councilman Steve Nawrocki and water board member and lawyer Nick Gradisar survived a field of 16 candidates in the November election to face each other in a runoff election on January 22.
The two have known each other for 40 years, served together on the Pueblo Water Board and have some agreements on how the city should operate on things like economic development, marketing, creating a more positive image for the city, and tourism.
“We have momentum in Pueblo and I want it to continue and I feel like I contributed to that,” said Nawrocki.
Gradisar says he feels like the regulatory framework in Pueblo has scared away businesses.
“Sometimes I think we’ve made it as hard as possible for businesses to come to Pueblo so, we need to get more economic activity here if we’re going to be successful.”
He hopes to have employees available for people and businesses to reach out to and more easily navigate around some of that red tape.
Both candidates agree that crime in Pueblo is relatively decreasing over the past few years but still have differing opinions on how to keep the trend going. Gradisar prefers the offensive.
“If people are not willing to conform their behavior, if we have a gang problem, I really support prosecuting those gang members in federal court and sending them to federal prison. We’ve done that a few times and that gets them out of circulation. “
A year ago, Pueblo voters passed a sales tax to increase the number of Pueblo Police officers by about 20.