Lonnie Parsons officially filed as a candidate for North Platte mayor a week ago — the first and so far the only candidate to do so.
On Tuesday, Parsons held his first news conference.
About 40 friends and supporters gathered for the conference at Wild Bill’s Wings and Bowling, one of the businesses that Parsons owns.
He said he has the time and desire to do the job.
He cited his “experience in building homes, commercial construction, developing subdivisions, overseeing infrastructure, owning businesses” as great assets if he runs the city.
Parsons has been developing real estate for several years. His first big commercial venture was to develop the Fourth St. Plaza that opened in 2009. The building sat empty after the True Value Super Center moved out in 2005. Parsons helped convince Gary Suhr to open Gary’s grocery store to anchor the plaza.
Then Parsons and Suhr partnered to open Wild Bill’s Wings and Bowling in 2014 when the Cedar Bowl sold it. Later, Parsons, without Suhr, stepped up to develop the former Sun Mart building on E. Francis – a building that recently sold to the New Life Church.
Two other men have announced they want to be mayor – Andrew Lee and Brandon Kelliher – although neither of them have officially filed yet.
Incumbent Mayor Dwight Livingston announced Wednesday he will not run for a third term.
Lee is the youngest and most vocal member of the city council. Kelliher is the top computer specialist at Great Plains Health.
Parsons’ current real estate venture is a residential housing project at Philip and Dixie that will have 37 new homes when it’s finished, a project that was heavily debated at city council and planning meetings.
Parsons told the Bulletin that all of his businesses are run by managers, so he can give nearly 100% of his time to being mayor.
He intends to be active and to build a better North Platte.
“I tell all my managers to step on the customer’s side of the counter and look at what they see, or walk to the street and look at what the customer is seeing,” he told the audience. “Is it appealing? Is it clean? Are we customer friendly? Do we have the attractions to keep them coming back? Is the quality good? If not, what can we do to make it better?”
“I believe that’s what we need to do as citizens of North Platte,” he said.
He added if citizens of North Platte want something, they must decide what they are willing to give to achieve it, just as he has had to do in business.
“That’s why I’m running,” he said. “I have the experience in business, budget, payroll, staff management, construction, development, infrastructure. I have worked for the city and worked with every department in the city, and understand how the departments work.”
Parsons is a certified EMT and has been a firefighter and paramedic.
He said he has thought about running for mayor for eight years, and feels that now is the time, and a change is needed.
He said is main goals are to improve the quality of life, efficiency, transparency, inclusiveness and collaboration in the city.