STERLING – A familiar face will be sitting in a familiar seat on the City Council: Incumbent Mayor Skip Lee was elected to another term Tuesday.
Lee won with 645 votes, defeating current Alderman Jim Wise, who received 496 votes, and Marc Batley, with 67. Lee, who will embark on his third term when he is sworn in as mayor next month, was understandably excited.
"I'm very happy that the voters gave me another term. This is the job of a lifetime," Lee said. "We've got a lot to get done. but we've got a great team and I'm looking forward to the future and the next 4 years."
Wise said he is happy with his campaign and still will continue to serve in his role as alderman at large, working with the council and Lee to better Sterling in the future.
"I enjoyed the opportunity to represent the community and will try again in 4 years," he said. "I think the closeness of the race shows the community wants the things I asked for in my campaign. I look forward to working with Mayor Lee and the council to accomplish those things."
Lee plans to continue in his mission to keep bringing people together to help solve the issues the city faces. He did point to a few specific areas he feels the need to focus on in his next 4-year term.
High on the priority list will be to address infrastructure, shoring up streets and sidewalks that need maintenance but also the parts that are unseen, such as the stormwater and sewer systems. Sterling has spent $2 million in Lee's first two terms on infrastructure but more needs to be done.
Lee would like to see a retail strategy develop to bring businesses together on the east end to maximize the potential of that area and help the retail businesses prosper. He also will focus some energy on figuring out what Sterling needs in the way of affordable housing to meet needs of potential new residents.
A big part of Lee's time, along with city staff, will be directed towards managing development on the riverfront. He has developed relationships with many of the stakeholders on this project and will work to bring them together to take steps in realizing the plan for that area.
Lee said he believes Sterling's manufacturing future lies not with the huge factories that employed hundreds like in the past, but rather in maintaining and luring those businesses that have 50-100 workers. But to land those type of businesses, the available workforce here needs to be trained to do those jobs once they come to Sterling.
As for Wise, he will continue in his role as alderman-at-large on the council since he was elected in 2017 to a 4-year term ending in 2021. Batley's political future is uncertain after two failed attempts at the mayor's office in 2011 and now this year.
Skip Lee - 645
Jim Wise - 496
Marc Batley - 67