Pickerington residents will see a familiar face on the Nov. 8 ballot for mayor.
Lee Gray, who is running unopposed, served as mayor of Pickerington from 1992 to 1999 and was a member of city council four years prior to taking office as mayor.
Even though he left office, Gray stayed involved. Once his children started attending Pickerington schools, he developed an interest in school issues, he said, which led him to run for school board, a position he held the last four years.
“I continued to be interested in what was going on,” he said. “The office of mayor was not on my radar. Current Mayor Mitch O’Brien and I are on good terms.”
When O’Brien opted not to run for re-election, Gray decided to run for mayor. He said O’Brien has done a good job in office and he didn’t want to run against him. After talking with friends and family and praying, Gray decided he would run again.
“As it worked out I was unopposed and thankful for a lot of reasons,” he said. “Any time you run a campaign, it takes time away from your family because you have to be on the campaign trail working hard to get elected.”
Gray said he is excited to serve the residents of Pickerington as mayor again. He moved into the community when he was in the third grade and said he enjoys the community.
“I’m glad my family is here,” he said.
Gray said Pickerington’s strengths are the people who make up the community and the schools. He said for many years Pickerington has been known for its exceptional school system.
“A number of people have moved to Pickerington for that reason,” he said.
In addition to having quality schools, Pickerington has fine parks and family events and provides a quality family atmosphere, which leads to a great community, Gray said.
Gray saw a number of accomplishments when he served as mayor of Pickerington, but says he accomplished nothing on his own.
“It would be unfair of me to call them my accomplishments,” he said. “You are only as successful as the people around you and the council you are working with. We have always been fortunate in Pickerington to have a lot of good people.”
Accomplishments during his time as mayor included the new sewer plant, water plant upgrades and widening of State Route 256. When he took office in 1991 Pickerington’s status changed from village to city.
Gray said economic development will be a focus. He wants to keep Pickerington a great place to live and do business and to provide an environment where people want to grow their business and raise their children.
Owning a small business gives Gray the flexibility to manage his own business and time to dedicate to the city as mayor.
“I have the flexibility to choose when I work on it,” he said. “I can work mornings or evenings. That is the nice thing about being an independent business owner.”
The city’s most pressing need is funding. Gray said it is important to do the best you can with the available revenue and utilize your resources efficiently and wisely.
“Maintaining our streets and continuing to provide services to the community is a top priority,” he said. “That is what I would like to continue to focus on.”