Though elections are months away, Ottumwa's mayoral race is already heating up.
Current mayor Frank Flanders will likely run again in November and Tuesday afternoon, longtime Ottumwa resident and former executive director of the American Home Finding Association Tom Lazio announced that he will run for mayor of Ottumwa.
Lazio retired from the American Home Finding Association in April 2012 and says he now has the time and energy to dedicate towards being Mayor. Lazio said his experience and leadership serving on various boards in the Ottumwa and Wapello County area will bring the cooperation and change Ottumwa residents are looking for.
"I think I can bring a certain amount of professionalism and knowledge of our city and state," Lazio said. "I just think there are a lot of things that people are hungry for in terms of wanting to see our city work more cooperatively with city, county, state people. We certainly have just tipped the tip of the iceberg in terms of things we could do here and I'd like to see Ottumwa come back and be the prosperous community it once was."
Lazio said when he moved to Ottumwa with his family, downtown was a bustling place, with Thursday shopping and plenty of stores. To continue promoting growth and change, Lazio said he will work with organizations like the Ottumwa Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Corporation and Main Street Ottumwa.
Lazio also said he would like to bring back the comprehensive plan the city put together years ago to promote economic development, but was somewhat forgot about in recent years.