Independent mayoral hopeful Gary Lawton turned in petitions Wednesday with enough signatures to secure his place on the ballot, if the signatures prove valid.
Lawton said he collected 128 signatures – 13 more than he needed to meet the threshold set by the state for unaffiliated candidates.
“I just have to wait and see what they allow and don’t allow,” Lawton said.
Lawton, a 46-year-old welder, said he’s aiming to give voters the chance for “a total redo of what’s going on in the city.”
He said he was “generally well received” when he asked people to sign the petition papers so that he could take on incumbent Democratic Mayor Art Ward and Republican challenger John Gill.
Ward said that Lawton, who was known as Gary Graff in high school, has every right to run. “It’s the democratic process,” said the mayor, who’s meeting with Lawton Thursday morning.
Lawton said he is “not looking to bash” the mayor or anyone else during the campaign.
“Personal attacks are unnecessary, uncalled for and basically just trash,” Lawton said, adding that everyone deserves to have a personal life that’s off-limits.
Lawton said the race should focus “on what’s good for Bristol and what’s not good for Bristol.”
Lawton said he plans to call for the mayor and other top government leaders in Bristol, including school officials, to take voluntary wage reductions while the recession runs its course. He said they can slice their pay by 30 percent or more.
“We all have to give back,” Lawton said, and “share in the misery” that so many people are feeling as they watch their pay dwindle and jobs vanish.
He said he also plans to push for alternative power including perhaps “wind turbines on Chippens Hill or even maybe photovoltaic cells on the New Departure building.”
Mayors serve two-year terms for $100,000 annually. The election is November 3.
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