PUEBLO – Nick Gradisar has one major goal in mind now that the campaign is over: jobs.
“We got to get started on increasing the economic activity in the City of Pueblo,” Nawrocki told reporters at a victory rally held at Zaragosa Hall Tuesday night.
The local attorney spearheaded the strong mayor effort to change city government two years ago. Voters rewarded him by giving him the responsibility to implement that change.
While still unofficial, early results released by the Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder’s Office updated 11:30 last night had Gradisar holding the lead over his opponent, two-term city councilman Steve Nawrocki.
- Nick Gradisar: 13,273 votes
- Steve Nawrocki: 9,577 votes
Around 15 minutes after the first results came in Tuesday night, Nawrocki sent a text message to Gradisar conceding the race and congratulating his opponent.
“I urge city council to set aside any concerns they have and to extend themselves to working with our new mayor,” Nawrocki told News 5 after the results were published.
Gradisar knows economic challenges lie ahead. He told the media that he is bracing for around 1,000 jobs to leave on his watch when the last of the mustard gas munitions are destroyed at the Pueblo Chemical Weapons Depot.
But new opportunities might be found in a business long associated with Pueblo’s past, the steel mill.
“By 2023, we’re going to see a new mill at Evraz Steel that will preserve our history as the Steel Making Capital of the West for the next 100 years,” Gradisar said.
In October, the Pueblo Economic Development Corporation, City of Pueblo, Pueblo County, and the Pueblo Urban Renewal Authority announced an incentive package aimed at encouraging EVRAZ to expand by building a new $200 million rail mill in Pueblo.
Gradisar said that Pueblo’s failure to grow in previous decades has cost the community.
“It’s got to be smart, controlled growth,” Gradisar said. “We need that growth to occur inside the city limits.”
He went on to say that another goal is to encourage the development of affordable housing in the downtown/Riverwalk area.
Mr. Gradiar plans to meet individually with department heads throughout the city in the coming weeks. He is also planning a trip to make connections with leaders in state government as well.
Clerk and Recorder Ortiz will still receive ballots from Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act for up to 8 days after the election. He expects to certify the election results by January 30.
The City of Pueblo Elections Board must then certify the results from Ortiz before they are final. Mr. Gradisar will most likely be sworn into at the next regularly scheduled City Council which will be held February 11.