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Election for Carefree Council and mayoral candidates to be held on Aug. 30


Elizabeth Medora

CAREFREE – Carefree residents will be voting to elect a mayor and six Councilmembers on Aug. 30. An additional election on Nov. 8, Election Day, will be held if necessary.

Carefree residents will be receiving ballots in the mail and can vote via mail, unless they choose to come in to vote a the physical voting location, Carefree Fire Station No. 1, Community Room, 37401 N. Tom Darlington Drive.

Only one candidate is running for mayor and only six candidates are running for the six open Council seats, so a second election won’t be necessary unless one or more of those candidates does not meet the requirement of receiving a majority of the total votes cast, which is 50 percent plus 1.

“If a candidate does not receive the minimum number of votes, they are not deemed elected in the Primary,” Carefree Town Clerk/Treasurer Kandace French said in an email interview. “Therefore, the candidate with less than a majority vote will continue to the General Election in November. For example, if 5 council member candidates and a mayoral candidate receive a majority of the vote in the Primary Election, they are deemed elected whereas the remaining candidate with a less than majority vote shall be required to run during the General Election. This requirement stands even if there is only one candidate and one seat remaining.”

French added that, under those circumstances, a General Election would also allow for a write-in candidate pursuant to A.R.S. Section 16-312. The write-in candidate would need to file nomination papers with the Town Clerk 40 days prior to the election. Having an additional election in November will cost the Town of Carefree an estimated $7,000.

Council candidates in this election include incumbents John Crane, Michael Farrar, and Gene Orrico. New candidates include Cheryl Kroyer, Michael Krahe, and Jim Van Allen.

Incumbent mayor Les Peterson is running for the mayoral post, and he said in an emailed statement to The Foothills Focus that he is running “to continue as the Mayor of Carefree because the next few years are a very critical time for Carefree.”

“I believe that I can help accomplish the major tasks before the Town that will be beneficial to all of its residents and businesses,” Peterson wrote.

Peterson listed some of the progress and improvements Carefree has made in recent years: enhancing the downtown core area, constructing new town gateways, adding bicycle lanes, and engaging world-renowned artist Ray Villafane to create the Enchanted Pumpkin Garden and other attractions, like the sand sculpture currently in downtown Carefree.

“All of this has generated a sense of pride and excitement among Carefree’s residents,” Peterson said.

“But to be fully successful, the revitalization of Carefree must not stop with these initial efforts. We also need to create an environment in which the town’s businesses can thrive and prosper,” Peterson continued, noting that it’s vital to create a flourishing business environment while preserving and protecting the integrity of Carefree as a beautiful, residential-friendly town.

“I believe that I have the knowledge, experience and desire to continue to lead the Town of Carefree in these endeavors. That is why I am running to continue as the Mayor of Carefree,” Peterson concluded his statement.

Each Carefree Council candidate was emailed by The Foothills Focus to offer a statement on why they chose to run for the Council; Cheryl Kroyer and John Crane responded with emailed statements.

Candidate Cheryl Kroyer said she first visited the area in 1988 and “fell in love with the desert”; she has owned a home in the area since 1993 and lived here fulltime since 1998.

“I love the lifestyle and uniqueness of the town and want to help steward it through its current revitalization and next phase of growth,” Kroyer wrote.

Kroyer wrote that she has 30 years’ experience in the advertising market for varied businesses.

“As head of media services for these companies, I helped develop marketing strategies, pinpoint the best target audience and devise communications strategies and budgets. I then supervised the negotiating of all advertising dollars with the various media companies: networks, cable, magazines and social media,” Kroyer noted.

“I will bring that same skill set to work for our town,” she continued. “I will help make sure that we are getting the biggest bang from our marketing efforts and importantly that we are using available dollars effectively. This is key as we continue to support our current businesses and residents while at the same time attracting new businesses, residents, visitors from other Valley towns and tourists.”

Incumbent Councilmember John Crane said that during his nearly four years serving on the Council, including over a year as vice mayor, much has been accomplished.

“We have invested in infrastructure, including enhancements to the Carefree Desert Gardens, bike lanes, a major street maintenance program, gateways and landscaping and the bringing of a world renown pumpkin and sand sculpture to Carefree that has placed Carefree on the map. These investments encourage economic development while bringing value to our citizens and creating a sense of civic pride, all without compromising the character of the Town,” Crane wrote.

“Now is the time to build upon this foundation by working with landlords and businesses to encourage investment. I am running for Town Council to finish the job that was started,” Crane continued, saying that he would facilitate cooperation between these groups to make their investments, and, in turn, Carefree, more successful.

“I hope you will consider voting for me and I will have the opportunity to continue to serve you for the next two years,” Crane concluded his statement.

See more information on the Carefree elections at