Members will select a mayor from two of their own, Leota Childress or Keith Swigart

The highlight of the Molalla's March 13 City Council meeting will be the interviewing and appointment of one of their own for mayor.

Two council members are vying for the job that Jimmy Thompson resigned from just over a month ago. Leota Childress and Keith Swigart both are applying for the position. Both are retired and ready to take over as mayor full-time, attending community and county meetings and being available.

There has been rumors of a third candidate named Eli Howard; however, City Recorder Kelly Richardson confirmed he had not filed an application. Repeated calls and emails to Howard have not been returned.

Childress wrote on her application that she…"will continue to foster community building; communications and collaborations; community activities; diversity; beautification; mental health; economic development; and housing affordability. As Mayor, I will be an Ambassador for Molalla."

In addition, if selected she said, "The City Council works very well together and I would nurture that relationship by meeting with each councilor every six weeks or as requested. I believe we can all grow but don't see a specific improvement that is needed."

Swigart noted that he's retired and "…I have the time, the passion and the tenacity to perform the duties the office requires. I have 'through the office of city council member' dedicated myself to the sensible and sustainable growth to the city I have loved for 65 years. I also have experience as a board member of the Oregon State Libertarian Party."

He also noted, "We have, in my opinion, a very sound and dedicated city government. We, as a group have corrected mistakes that were made, and created a sound and clear path forward. I would work hard alongside our council, business community, county and state government, and our wonderful city staff to make this a continuing great city and surrounding community."

Both Childress and Swigart suggest the city has turned around in the past five years.

"A few years ago Molalla was in the red, now we have reserves. Jimmy Thompson got us back on the right track," Swigart said. "For the first time in city politics, we're asking people [Molalla residents] what they want. For years nothing had been done for the city's sewers and now we've improved part of the infrastructure," he added.

Childress agreed.

"Five or six years ago the city was operating in a deficit," she said. "The recent city councils have changed that with the help of Dan Huff. Molalla has made a huge recovery and the council is now working for the city. I think we are doing great things."

She noted that both she and Swigart will make a great mayor and both will support the other. The fact that they both are retired will allow them the time to become not just a great mayor, but with the ability to be ambassadors for Molalla.

Swigart was born in Oregon City; he has spent most of his life in Molalla. Childress has lived here since 2003 and attended City Council meetings for the last 13 years. Both are avid volunteers. Childress noted that Molalla has "a hometown feel," while Swigart hopes to see more economic development in the city.

Before the meeting is adjourned, there will be an Executive Session.

This story has been updated for clarification.

Carol Rosen
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