(PUEBLO, Colo.) — FOX21 is your local election headquarters and the race for Mayor of Pueblo is underway. From now until election day, FOX21 is highlighting each mayoral candidate and their top priorities.

This isn’t the first time former City Councilman Randy Thurston has run for mayor, but he said this time things are different. Thurston is focusing on public safety and emphasizing his leadership experience. He said many people are dissatisfied with the current leadership in Pueblo but he is confident he is the right man for the job.

As a Pueblo native, Thurston has a lot of pride for his city, which has launched him into the race for mayor.

“There’s something about Pueblo that’s magical and for me, the community is part of the fabric of who I am,” Thurston explained. “It’s not about a job, it’s not about anything other than how we can help Pueblo reach its potential.”

Thurston said in the last few years, Pueblo has faced many challenges. That’s why he is running on a platform of having zero tolerance for crime.

“Crime over the last five years has gotten totally out of control,” Thurston explained. “It’s a different feel and it’s not what Puebloans deserve and this community can do much better by taking a strong stance of zero tolerance on crime and the mayor will and can make the difference if you get the right mayor.”

Thurston also focuses on zero tolerance of illegal drugs and believes it starts with the city’s homeless population.

“My goal is to protect the homeless and go after the criminal homeless to where they won’t want to be here in Pueblo,” Thurston said.

Thurston served the city of Pueblo as a city councilman for eight years and believes a strong mayor who will bring change and strength to a community must have a vision and commitment to the people of Pueblo — something Thurston says has been lost under the current Mayor Nick Gradisar, who will also be on the ballot this November.

“We’re living in what I’ll call ‘Nick-ville,’ Thurston said. “That’s not Pueblo. His agenda, his thoughts, and his priorities are what has created what we’ve been living in over the last three to four years and I don’t think it matches with what the citizens, including myself, want for us to reach our potential.”

With nine candidates running for mayor, Thurston said community members who want change should head to the ballot box come Nov. 7.