ELKO – City councilman Reece Keener officially filed for mayor on Monday at city hall, two months after announcing his intent to run.
Keener said he was “looking forward” to the campaign, but said he would remain “100 percent committed” to the remainder of his term on the council.
“I’ve worked side-by-side with the mayor and I know what it takes to do the job,” Keener said, minutes after completing his paperwork.
Keener cited “encouragement from trusted friends” as part of his decision to run for mayor, adding that the other part came from his wife, Tami, who is “100 percent on board” with his decision.
“I would not consider pursuing this without her blessing and support,” he said. The Keeners own and operate Print N Copy.
In public office, Keener served eight years on the City Planning Commission before being appointed to the city council in 2013 and being elected in 2014.
Although no other candidates filed for mayor on the first day of the two-week filing period, Keener said he hoped “others would step up.”
“There should be competition for these offices, and having multiple candidates will give voters more of a choice,” Keener said. “The more choices we have, the better city government we’ll have.”
Keener said he would have continued on the council, but made his decision because of Mayor Chris Johnson being termed out of office.
“Mayor Johnson is leaving the city in a very healthy condition at all levels,” Keener said.
Because the Nevada Supreme Court grouped mayors and city council under a 12-year term limit, Johnson was eligible to serve two terms as mayor, something that could happen to Keener should he be elected as mayor in November.
However, Keener called term-limits “a double-edged sword” within city government, explaining that both sides of the argument were valid in the debate.
“We have qualified people like Chris Johnson who had done a terrific job and they’re being pushed out by virtue of term-limits,” Keener said. “But at the same time, 12 years is enough time for anyone. If I go the distance, I’ll be tired and need a break from it.”
Keener said he didn’t see much difference shifting seats from the council to the mayor’s chair because the amount of research involved will not decrease.
“I don’t foresee a lot more than what I’m already doing,” Keener said. “I already spend a lot of time and effort informing myself of differing issues.”
Keener also noted some of the carryovers from the council to the mayor’s position he might be seeing if elected, including overseeing the completion of the Elko Sports Complex, along with the downtown redevelopment project, broadband service, Exit 298 development, and the upcoming airport master plan, that could make the airport “less dependent on the city and more self-sufficient.”
Keener also said he is “very cognizant” of one of the more “sobering aspects” of the job, which is the responsibility that comes with holding the gavel.
“If things really go sideways, it’s the mayor that shoulders the brunt of the blame, not the city council,” Keener said. “I’m entering into this with my eyes wide open.”
Calling the recent marijuana dispensary debate “bruising” Keener said the experience could “invite more candidates for mayor.”
“I look forward to spirited debate and campaigning,” Keener said. “Let the games begin!”
Filing for city offices continues until March 16 at the city clerk’s office at city hall.