Two-time candidate for mayor, Robert Rose, has announced that he'll once again run for the seat. So far, the Leesville businessman is the only candidate who has stepped forward.
Leesville businessman C. Robert Rose has announced his candidacy for mayor of the City of Leesville.
Earlier this month, both Westerchil and Shapkoff announced that they would not seek re-election, leaving the race wide open. So far, Rose is the only candidate who has announced his intention to run.
"We're pretty much surviving the recession, but we're not prospering as we should," Rose said of Leesville in an interview with the Leader on Friday afternoon. "I still believe that Leesville has a great future, and we have to get the job done right."
Rose said that the city's infrastructure, in particular, is in need of a major overhaul.
"We have a broken city infrastructure period," he said. "Mayor Westerchil has done some great things and started some great projects, but we've got to accelerate it."
With two previous mayoral races under his belt, Rose said he's prepared to run as hard this time as he did before. He faced off against sitting Mayor Jim Shapkoff in 2002, losing by a mere 40 votes. In 2006 he faced Westerchil and lost again in another close race.
The mayor's job is to unite those in the city who have differing points of view, Rose said.
"We can disagree without being disagreeable," he said. Meetings and the data of the city should be as open as possible and not a "government secret." "We have to open the City Council up for the public to speak. City business is everybody's business."
After moving here as child in 1962 with his military family, Rose graduated from Leesville High School in 1976. Afterwards, he served in the Army for six years and then worked in the restaurant/hotel business, which took him all over the world.
He moved back to Leesville with his wife and children in 1997 to run World Net, an internet connection business, which is no longer in operation. Now, Rose is owner and operator of the Booker-Lewis House, a bed and breakfast at 102 E. North St., in downtown Leesville. The business has a restaurant and six properties, with two located elsewhere in the city, one on Third Street and one in Lee Hills. All told, the bed and breakfast offers 18 rooms.
Rose said he will make the formal announcement at noon Wednesday, Jan. 27 at the Booker-Lewis House. The community is invited to attend.