Howard Lake Herald, October 5, 1998

Gerry Smith on ballot for HL mayor

Asked to identify community leaders, almost anyone in Howard Lake would point to Gerry Smith.

The grocery store owner who came here in 1988 has become involved in dozens of community projects, either in leadership or support roles.

And with the latest turn of events, he is in position to be Howard Lake's next mayor.

The sudden passing away of Al LePage Sept. 23 created an unusual situation in that LePage had been the only person to file for mayor for the Nov. 3 election.

Last week, a petition was signed by enough local voters to have Smith's name placed on the ballot instead.

"I had thought about running for mayor for years, but never felt the time was right until now," Smith said. "I thought the world of Al. He would have made a great mayor."

Smith did a lot of soul searching and talked with his wife, Carol, and other supporters. The encouragement from others, as well as the need for the town to have a leader, helped tip the scales, he said.

Carol Smith said: "I support his decision to run, even though it was a tough decision to make."

Because Gerry is already working on the school task force and is currently president of the Howard Lake Business Association (HLBA), he feels the continuity will carry over. Since moving to town, he has chaired Good Neighbor Days every year, and served as HLBA president seven of those years.

As mayor, he wants to be fair and do the best he can, he said, including:

  • encourage communication in the community;
  • encourage more community involvement;
  • encourage respect for one another at all community meetings;
  • continue current programs and projects already in place.

He also hopes to set up committees to address topics such as the impact of Highway 12 improvements, the future direction of the school district, and a new industrial park.

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