PAYETTE — After serving two terms as a city councilor, Craig Jensen left the Payette City Council in 2020, only to find himself back in his old council seat after the departure of Kahlia Morin this January. Now, he’s aiming for the city’s highest position of honor: Mayor.
Jensen announced his candidacy for mayor during the city’s 130th anniversary celebration on Tuesday afternoon. Jensen has been involved with the city for more than 10 years, starting on its finance committee before being elected to the City council in 2011.
“One thing that I’ve learned during all those years of experience on the City Council is that you can’t accomplish anything on your own,” Jensen told attendees. “I finally realize that even if you’re elected mayor, if you think you’re going to be able to accomplish everything you want to do on your own, you would be wrong.”
Jensen emphasized the need for the support of the city council and the community for any mayor to get tasks done. He touted his ability to organize groups to complete tasks as a strength of his, which he said contributed to completion of the Harmon Killebrew Miracle Field and the Payette clubhouse of the Boys & Girls Club.
When asked by the newspaper for his reasons for seeking the mayoral post, Jensen said his passion for community improvement is both his catalyst and his goal.
“I think I’ve got the experience and the expertise to be able to move people forward, be able to have them come together as a group and be able to accomplish things by a consensus,” said Jensen. “You put those elements together, and you let the citizens buy into the project you’re doing, you can accomplish it.”
Unless for any reason Jensen were to withdraw his bid for the mayoral post, present Mayor Jeff Williams told the newspaper he would not seek a fourth term in office.
“Otherwise, I’m done,” said Williams.
But it’s not as if he wouldn’t still have a lot on his plate; At Williams’ day job as a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, business remains hot.
“Real estate’s really busy right now,” among other things, he said. “My daughter [Markita Williams has] been in real estate now five years and she’s doing good, but maybe teach[ing] her how to run the business might be one of my next things.”
Williams was first elected mayor of Payette in 2009.
Upon learning that Jensen is seeking to be mayor, fellow councilor Ray Wickersham announced he had decided to seek a third term in office.
“The group that you got in there right now as council, I’m really proud of the group that I’m working with right now,” said Wickersham. “That’s one of the reasons I’m willing to stay in there and do that, ‘cause I think we’ve got a group that can make some differences and they’re really doing a good job. All you people here that are on council, I love it.”
Wickersham told the newspaper he has several projects he’s not done pushing for, including revitalization of downtown Payette.
“If I can’t get anything done, and all I’m doing is attending council meetings, I’m done,” he said. “But if I can get something done and get projects done in town, then I feel like I’m adding something.”
In closing his speech to Payette citizens, Jensen expressed optimism for the future of the city.
“I really wouldn’t be running for the office of mayor if I didn’t truly believe that Payette’s best days lie ahead.”
Jensen anticipates officially launching his campaign in the month of August, at which point he said he will have further details about his campaign platform. At this early stage, Jensen said he has the moral support of his wife.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2.