LIBERTY CENTER — The current president of Liberty Center Village Council has petitioned to run for the village’s mayor seat in November.

Gerald Jay Branson II was appointed to council in 2016, filling an open seat with a term that runs through this year. Branson is currently the owner of the local Liberty Press and Deshler Flag publications, and said he has also served as a vice chairman of the Military Affairs Committee in Arizona.

“I am a business owner in the community, but, before that, I have worked in both sales and hospitality,” he said. “During my hospitality tenure, I worked in departments such as accounting, front office, sales, and food and beverage.”

Branson said he hopes to use that experience to improve on what the village already has to offer.

“I was asked to run, but I really feel I can help push Liberty Center in a more positive direction, and without growing beyond what the people want,” he said. “I want to make what we have much better.”

Branson said water distribution, infrastructure and economy were key areas of focus he would like to pursue if elected to the position.

“We currently have a water issue we are trying to solve,” he said. “I would like to see us find a fair municipality wholesale rate so we can start planning for the eventual internal water infrastructure that we will have to pay for because the water lines in the village have been in the ground since the 1930s.”

“I would also like to focus on the economics of the town,” Branson added. “I think we need to work with the state and county so we can gain more in available grants. I would also like to see us expand a tad, but grow at our pace.”

After filling out nearly a full term in his council seat, Branson said he wants to use all his experience to benefit the village in the mayor’s position.

“I have been on council for almost four years now. I have management experience as well as leadership experience,” Branson said. “Combine all that together, and I am hoping I can call on that experience to help me improve in the areas the town needs.”

Also running for Liberty Center mayor is Landis Burmeister, who has served on Liberty Center Village Council since 2016. He was appointed to an open council seat with a term that runs through 2021.

Burmeister did not respond to requests for comments/information by the newspaper’s deadline.

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