Purcell highlights ‘cohesive teamwork’ in write-in campaign for Hardin mayor
Thu, 10/19/2017 - 11:58am admin
By Andrew Turck / Big Horn County News
Three people have entered the race for Hardin mayor this year, which is set to be decided Nov. 7 by mail-in ballot. Two candidates, Dallas Eidem and Debbie Winburn, made the July 14 filing and will appear on the ballot. A third candidate, Joe Purcell, will run as a write-in.
According to Hardin’s city code, the duties of a mayor are to preside at city council meetings and vote when the council is divided, appoint all city officers, recommend measures that would be beneficial to the city, examine complaints against the city, and ensure officers deliver “all assets” to their successor upon the expiration of their duties.
Finally, the code states, a mayor is to “Perform all other duties required and necessary for the efficient operation of the business of the city.”
To that end, Joe Purcell's bio is as follows:
The director of nursing for long-term care at Heritage Acres Nursing Home is looking to bring a “fresh set of ears” to Hardin city government and “be the change” in his bid for mayor. According to candidate Joe Purcell, rebuilding a spirit of “cohesive teamwork” between the City of Hardin and its citizens is paramount to his campaign.
“I really feel that, to see positive change in any environment or any community, we need to be the change you want to see in that community,” he said. “We need to step up as individuals, as community members, as council members, as whoever, and be the example.
“If you want a clean city, and you walk by and there’s a piece of garbage sitting there, stop and pick it up and throw it in the trash. Simple things will add up to be bigger things.”
While Purcell has never ran for a position in city government, he has had experience serving on the City-County Planning Board, 4-H Council and local scholarship boards.
This year, he organized students and their animal and craft projects at the Youth Fair, as the event’s superintendant in August.
“I’ve always been interested in leadership – more local government than high-political government,” Purcell said. “I’ve had a lot of experience serving on boards as chairman, president, superintendent, that type of thing.”
Having spoken to previous mayors, Purcell believes maintaining his current position at Heritage Acres and as mayor “will be a balance and will be a struggle at times,” but he believes it could be managed.
Purcell is running as a write-in candidate this year, having missed the cutoff for registration. According to Purcell, he hadn’t intended to run for another four years, but seeing only new candidates on the ballot encouraged him to give it a shot.
Though he was nervous in starting his campaign, Purcell said, he has been a part of the Hardin community since 1990, and developed a reputation for being “up-front, honest, considerate and respectful.”
“I thought that would be the biggest, fairest campaign to step into,” he said. “I kind of jinxed myself…by filing as a write-in – which knocks down the odds, as you might say – but I still decided to go forward with it.”
If elected, Purcell intends to help bring more economic development into the city and expand the range of activities available for local youth – “such as skateboarding or basketball.”
“Instead of having them get run off of every place in town, because they’re trespassing, [we should] give them a solid place to go and hang out together,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of youth programs and worked with a lot of youth in leadership and citizenship.
“I’ve hosted a lot of kids, and taken them to our state capitol and our national capitol.”
Purcell said his leadership style often consists of “being an example” to the estimated 30 people who work “side-by-side” with him at Heritage Acres. Gaining respect, he continued, allows him to accomplish required tasks as a registered nurse.
The city has a “great group of organizations” from which to draw upon, he said – mentioning the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office and Hardin Chamber of Commerce – and he would like to make stronger connections between them. Once “looped together,” he believes, they will be better at “promoting our city.”
In future events, he said, he would be open to “lending a hand” and volunteering for them.
“The city and different entities could work better with our chamber and help support our chamber…with new ideas and stepping outside of our norm,” Purcell said. “Change is always scary, but without change, you’re going to get stagnant.
“The world is changing around us. We need to keep up with it.”
Purcell will be holding a meet-and-greet and free chili lunch for the public at the Hardin Historic Depot from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21.