Nick Gradisar, a Pueblo native and attorney, was sworn in Friday as the first mayor of the city in decades.
Gradisar helped organize the campaign to bring a so-called strong-mayor system to Pueblo. He won a runoff election in January after being one of the top two vote-getters in the original election of 16 candidates in November.
Economic development will be one of his top priorities.
“We need to make it easier to do business in Pueblo,” Gradisar said in his speech. “I propose an ombudsman in the mayor’s office who can help businesses and citizens negotiate the labyrinth of rules and regulations.”
Gradisar believes in aggressively targeting and recruiting businesses to the city. He thinks taking advantage of the city’s natural resources can help entice them.
“The Colorado River is a water-short river,” Gradisar said. “So if there are businesses in California and Arizona that require water, [tell them] the City of Pueblo has an abundant supply of water.”
Gradisar believes helping the businesses can help the schools.
“Many of the problems being experienced by Pueblo City Schools are directly related to the lack of economic activity in Pueblo and our failure to grow,” Gradisar said.
He said he plans to work with the school board to find solutions for students and the district.