Friday, November 8, 2013

Jonas gets easy victory in mayor’s race

Challenger wins by nearly 2-1 margin over incumbent Hall

Express Staff Writer

Nina Jonas

The voters of Ketchum made their voices loud and clear in Tuesday’s mayoral election, as Councilwoman Nina Jonas was elected to be the city’s first female mayor. Jonas defeated incumbent Randy Hall by a resounding 851-429 margin.
    “I feel so honored and kind of flabbergasted to become the new mayor,” Jonas said Thursday. “I was smiling so hard when I won I could barely speak.”
    Jonas said her margin of victory was surprising, as she did not expect to receive nearly twice as many votes as Hall, who’s been popular with Ketchum voters during his long tenure in public service.
    “I’m excited because I tried really hard to express my desires during my campaign,” Jonas said. “I really wanted to reach out to young professionals and bring in long-term residents, so I’m glad that resonated with the voters.”
    Jonas, who co-owns and operates Rickshaw restaurant, said she was very stressed near the end of her run for office.
    “Towards the end of my campaign, it was just so intense and so focused that I didn’t really feel much,” she said. “It was just so intense the whole time, while I was working for the best.”
    Hall has been voted out of office after serving two four-year terms as Ketchum’s mayor, in addition to service on the City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission. He said he is not surprised he lost the election, and congratulated Jonas on her victory.
    “This community wanted a cultural change, and I expected that,” Hall said. “I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Ketchum made its voice loud and clear.”
    Hall said he is very proud of the city for electing its first female mayor. He also said he has no regrets after serving in the Ketchum city government for more than 18 years, and is excited for the next chapter in his life.
        In terms of the relationship between the Ketchum and Sun Valley city councils, Jonas said she is optimistic of improved relations going forward.
    “I hope our relationship is productive,” she said. “Keith (Saks) is a mediator and I think that will help. Peter (Hendricks) seems to come in with fresh ideas. I want to work with them on marketing knowledge and try to make sure we appreciate each other’s perspectives. They have other needs, and our community is very desirous of more marketing.”
    Jonas said she wants to keep the public involved with the transition period between now and Jan. 6, when she will be sworn into office. Jonas also shared some of her plans to help the local business community upon taking office.
    “I’m going to work towards funding mechanisms with venture capitalists to get seed monies going for young entrepreneurs,” she said. “I’m going to also work with the economic development office to focus more on recruitment to get more people here.”

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