MAYODAN — Longtime Mayor Jeff Bullins has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2020.
Bullins, who has served three consecutive terms after being elected as a write-in in 2013, said he will retire from the post in December.
Born and raised in Mayodan, the former finance manager for the US Postal Service has spent 22 of the last 32 years as mayor.
“It’s time to let somebody else do it,” said Bullins, who also cited family obligations as a reason for stepping away. “I've been mayor for a long time and people get tired of seeing the same person in the job. You hear people talk about term limits and not wanting the same person in a position for so long, so you start thinking, ‘well, maybe I'm getting to that point.’”
First elected to town council in 1985, Bullins won his first mayoral race in 1987 at age 31 and served six consecutive terms before losing the post in the 1999 election.
After a couple of years out of politics, Bullins ran again for town council in 2001 and won. Half way through his council term in 2003, he was once again elected mayor.
Bullins remained in the town's top office until 2007, then returned to the post six years later after building a reinvigorated interest in town happenings.
As a non-voting mayor, Bullins said he always felt like his biggest role was as a facilitator, working with the council, town manager, town staff and citizens to accomplish goals for Mayodan.
Such team work helped Bullins complete several projects for which he is proud during his most recent tenure.
One of the bigger accomplishments of council and staff was the acquisition and start of cleanup at the Washington Mills site, Bullins said.
He also pointed to happenings downtown and creation of the mountain bike trail at Farris Park as major collaborative feats in recent years.
The trail, an idea originally formed by former town manager Michael Brandt, has helped the town enjoy Farris Park’s potential, Bullins said.
“It's been an underutilized park for years, but there are more people that are seeing it now than have seen it in decades. And there are people coming from much further away to do something at that park,” Bullins said. “That's been really exciting.”
Mayodan has become a hub of economic activity because of the effort town councils, past and present, put into infrastructure, Bullins said.
"Mayodan has been a town with tremendous potential for many years, and I do hope I helped it to realize some of that potential,'' he said. "We still haven't realized our full potential, and I guess no town ever does, but some get closer than others, and I'd like to think we've made progress on that path because of things that have raised the profile of the town.”
In addition to the fall 2019 mayoral race, The Town of Mayodan will see three council seats on its municipal election election ballot,
Candidate filing begins Friday, July 5 at the Rockingham County Board of Elections Office in Wentworth.