For mayoral candidate Jon Buck, this election is a crucial turning point for community involvement.
For the first time in years, Littleton residents will have the ability to cast a vote for their next mayor, a position that has long been filled by a vote among members of city council.
Buck, a 13-year Littleton resident, said the change is long overdue.
“It's almost like you're having to do a middle school dance with members of your council when the vote is coming for an appointment,” he said.
By having to rely on the votes of other councilmembers to claim the mayorship, Buck said the system in place is one where members can be more concerned with decisions on issues that please their fellow members, even if those decisions are unpopular with the community.
“No knock on the people involved,” Buck said. “But overall as a system, we see that it does not get the citizens involved and it does not allow for objective, bold decisions.”
Buck is running against Carol Fey, a council incumbent representing District 3, and Kyle Schlachter, who previously served on the council as an at-large member. Buck said he brings a “fresh face” and will pursue decisions that he believes are crucial to Littleton's future.
“It's a critical time for our city,” he said.
As mayor, Buck would seek to pursue aggressive investments in the city's aging infrastructure as well as craft a healthy and transparent budget, something he feels has been lacking.
Buck is also running on a platform of unity and wants to bridge the divides between residents. And he's no stranger to doing so.
As a former pastor of nine years, Buck has worked to bring people together.
“Being a pastor has helped me get a thick skin,” he said. “People are very opinionated when it comes to their faith.”
Buck said he has long merged science and faith in his life. He graduated from college with a chemistry degree and soon took the transformation from a “nihilistic atheist” to a church-goer and leader. He said both perspectives help inform his judgment when it comes to varying perspectives that people have, something that is crucial for a position like mayor.
For him, it's about helping to “inspire people for something bigger than themselves.”
“If we can get multiple people and organizations involved in something we can see that that is accomplishable,” he said.
Buck said he has experience bringing together community.
He is a founding member of the Littleton Transportation Mobility Board and currently runs the nonprofit HopeCycle, which works with local schools to donate bikes to underprivileged students.
On council, he said, he would do much of the same.
“It's time for us to make decisions that are courageous enough to say 'this matters,'” he said.