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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Crabb knows the ropes of being Mayor

Saturday, November 1, 2003

Kenny Crabb has seen -- and done -- quite a bit in his 12 consecutive years as Brazil's mayor.

The three-term mayor has been a teacher, a school administrator, and is a war veteran. Though he had a lack of "real" political experience when he won the election 12 years ago, he believes his life experience got him ready for the job.

"I hadn't done anything political personally," he said, "but I worked in the school system for 39 years. Many of those years were in administrative positions. It wasn't technically political, but as anyone who works in education administration can tell you, that job itself is politics."

Crabb went on to say that his brother and father both served on Brazil's City Council.

"So I was next to it many years of my life," he said.

Crabb has ran (and won) against all of his opponents since taking the title of mayor. He defeated the incumbent Orville Pickett to secure his first term, then defeated Pickett again the next time around. He also took on two other opponents, though he says that "they hadn't previously been in government."

"With the exception of (Pickett), Tom Arthur is my biggest competition yet by far," Crabb said, referring to his Democratic opponent.

When asked what he thinks he can do that Arthur can't, Crabb said that he thinks "the fact that this is my home and has been my whole life" was important.

"I've also been very active in the community, he said. I'm in the Rotary Club, I've been the president of several boards... he will have a hard time matching my involvement."

On the other hand, when asked what Arthur could do that he couldn't, Crabb had this to say:

"I know what he says on his platform, wanting to repave every street in Brazil. I'd love to do that, too. One of the things he will find is that we have a lot of issues with bonds after the lawsuit over the sidewalks. You can only indebt the town so much with bonds, and we did."

Crabb said that, if reelected, he plans on working closely with local industry.

"I'm very concerned economically and with the fact that we need to do something to draw industry to Brazil. We're within striking distance of many colleges, and we have so much to offer. We also need to take care of our present industry. We've fared well with this recession, if you want to call it that, and we just need to keep doing well."

Though Crabb has accomplished many things in his years in office, he mentions most often the work he did to get Brazil back on track in his early years.

"When I came in in 1992, we literally had no budget," he said. "We had no idea what kind of cash we had on-hand. One of the first things we did was hire a CPA to check all the files and books, and we found out that we were several hundred thousand dollars in the red. We had lawsuits from an asphalt company that we hadn't paid... we cut corners over a period of years and paid every thing off. We got the city in better financial shape."

Crabb also mentioned work he had done involving sewers, water treatment, and understaffed police and fire departments.

"I'd say the strongest argument for me in this situation is the fact that I have knowledge about the present industrial economic base," Crabb said. "Not that (Arthur) wouldn't learn that. I know what we have and what we can do."

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