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Atwater’s Mayor Creighton to run for county supervisor seat

Mayor Paul Creighton speaks to a Times reporter during an interview at the Almond Tree Restaurant in Atwater.
Mayor Paul Creighton speaks to a Times reporter during an interview at the Almond Tree Restaurant in Atwater.

At first, Atwater Mayor Paul Creighton thought those who had been pushing him to run for a higher office were just offering him pleasantries, or expressing support for his work in Atwater.

“You kind of brush it off when people tell you you should run for another office,” Creighton told the Times. “But when I got this many people approaching me from different directions and different walks of life, I kind of paused and thought maybe I can make a difference for a larger area and I should try.”

Creighton did just that a few days ago with a surprising announcement that he intends to run for the District 3 seat on the Merced County Board of Supervisors, currently held by Daron McDaniel, also of Atwater.

District 3 covers all of the city of Atwater, Castle Airport, the Franklin-Beachwood area, and a small portion of north west Merced.

Creighton said he has encountered former critics who weren’t exactly big fans when he first ran for City Council, but who have since changed their minds after witnessing Atwater make strides forward in recent years.

“After we did our municipal budget, and did a great job on that as a council, maybe by collaborating with the other supervisors, we can get that same level of success for District 3 and carry that over to other areas of the county,” he explained. “Maybe they have some really great ideas that they need someone to help champion, and they need a team player.”

Creighton went on to say that he feels Atwater’s trend upward will continue should voters place him in the District 3 supervisorial seat. “Atwater is on a really good trajectory, and I think with some collaboration, District 3 could really shine across the entire county. There are a lot of great things going on in Merced County, and there are a lot more great things to come.”

When asked about specifics, Creighton noted that there were three projects he would like to pursue that his campaign will be focusing in on.

“There are three main issues I want to focus my campaign on: The Castle Commerce Center, regional transportation for District 3, and public safety for District 3.” The mayor also added, “Merced County in general.”

Creighton said he was excited about the potential of the Castle Commerce Center. “There’s a lot of untapped potential out there. If I’m able to collaborate with the other supervisors, we can evaluate and explore some commercial or developmental opportunities out at the Castle Commerce Center to finally complete that.”

For regional transportation, Creighton said: “I just want to continue what I’m doing, and trying to get Bellevue Avenue connected to 99 so our residents have a reduced commute. By reducing that commute time it makes peoples lives more enjoyable and it makes Atwater more accessible for other areas and so maybe we can draw more people to move to our community to live and work here. And that makes a direct connection to the Castle Commerce Center right away.”

The candidate said he wants to complete the Atwater-Merced Expressway, a project he says he has been working on for the past six years, alongside of the Merced County Association of Governments and Merced County. Additionally, other traffic mitigation measure he would like to pursue include congestion problems that impact the residents of District 3.

Creighton also spoke about his desire to enhance public safety across Merced County in a manner similar to what he had done in Atwater.

“What I’ve done in Atwater with our Police Department and staffing, modernizing equipment, I think that the county Sheriff’s Department and the County Fire Department need that same kind of attention and momentum that we have in Atwater. I’m excited and looking forward to working with them to try and make things better and enhance public safety for all of the residents of Merced County to make it a safer place.”

Over the years, Creighton has moved up through a series of local jobs within the city, which he says gives him a unique set of skills and viewpoints on how different pieces of a government puzzle have to come together for a successful project.

“I think of all my years in municipal governments — from being a past public works director, a city manager, city councilor, and now being a mayor of a city that was going bankrupt and helping turn that around to a positive cash flow for the community, and adding park space and splash pads, and road projects, remodeling and expanding the police department which is going to have its own building for the first time, and moving municipal services downtown,” Mayor Creighton said. “I think I have a good skill set to get things done, but I think the main attribute that I feel I bring to the table is collaborating with my peers and working with others to accomplish the main goal that we all have.”

Creighton said he is “focused on coming in fresh and working with other supervisors.”

The candidate is planning to hold a campaign kick off event by the first half of August.

“I’m looking for support and I want to continue the success we’ve have already started here in Atwater and continue it in District 3, and help make Merced County a better place to work and live. That is my 100 percent goal,” he said. “I love this county, and I love the people in it, and they have been really good to me, and I want to continue my service for our county. I think Merced County is sitting in its best opportunity of its lifetime and I want to be a part of that. I truly believe that our best days are ahead of us.”

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