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Carefree Mayor Les Peterson announces candidacy for reelection


Tara Alatorre

CAREFREE – Carefree Mayor Les Peterson announced his candidacy seeking election as the town’s mayor-elect last week in a press release, with the town’s upcoming general elections approaching this November.

Mayor Peterson has been serving as interim mayor for the past year after the former and now deceased Mayor David Schwan resigned due to illness with ALS in the early spring of 2015. Peterson was vice mayor at the time he was appointed to serve as interim mayor by the Carefree Town Council, and according to town bylaws, he must run in the upcoming general election to retain the mayoral seat.

Peterson believes the next few years are critical for the future economic sustainability of Carefree, and he outlined key priorities he wants addressed in the near future in his announcement.

“We have made great progress in enhancing downtown Carefree for the enjoyment and utilization of our residents and visitors,” Mayor Peterson said in a press release. “We can’t stop now, and the next few years are critical to the Town’s future.”

Peterson prioritized these goals in his sights if he is elected as mayor: Keeping the town friendly without the heavy traffic congestion of nearby towns, attracting a diverse demographic to downtown Carefree with strategic marketing efforts, and encouraging smaller high-quality residences close to downtown. He also plans on achieving his identified priorities within town budget constraints, while maintaining strong reserves for the town.

“The downtown enhancement projects, implemented under my leadership, came from a variety of sources, and the town council worked hard and effectively to maximize the impact of each,” Peterson said. “Many of our local businesses and civic organizations also made substantial contributions towards implementing these projects, which helped to keep spending below the approved budgets.”

Peterson has a strong background in strategic planning and marketing development, and served as president of the fifth largest marketing services firm in the United States, working with more than 180 client companies and identifying key problems and developing strategies programs. He has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Arizona State University, and has been a resident of Carefree for over 20 years, he said in his official announcement.

Prior to being elected to serve as a council member on the Carefree Town Council in 2012, Peterson served on the town’s planning and zoning commission and was the president of the Boulders Homeowners Association.

“A renewed sense of spirit and momentum is evident throughout Carefree,” Peterson said. “I believe I can continue to effectively lead the town’s efforts to complete the remaining tasks in this revitalization.”