Paul Bledsoe, a City College student and intern, is the seventh candidate to file for the open Billings mayor position.
Monday was the filing deadline for the five open council positions and for mayor, as well as for municipal court judge.
The primary election, which will pare council and mayor fields to two candidates each, will be held Sept. 12, with the general election set for Nov. 7.
Bledsoe, 34, is a single parent who’s been a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician. He worked eight years for Roto-Rooter.
In an emailed statement, he wrote that he’s running for mayor “not to fulfill my own aspirations, but those that were placed on my heart from above. I would like to see the people of Billings love each other with the same love that Jesus Christ brought to this world.”
Bledsoe wrote there are “already laws in place that provide protection against discrimination. I stand against any orders that may create division or infringe on the rights of others.”
Billings’ recent growth, he wrote, “has created many new expansions. I want to ensure that no street or house is left behind. Maintaining Billings is just as important as its growth. City upkeep will aid in uniting fellow neighborhoods.”
“All people are created equal,” he wrote, “and we should all be treated as equal people. It is not who we identify as as but our actions that define us. No matter what our past says, our future can say something different."
However, “I see that many people are led by their own desires. They are lovers of themselves, and seek only self-edification. From this has arisen many divisive ideologies that draw imaginary lines in the sand. These lines in the sand divide us from among ourselves. The discrimination that it creates is a product of itself.”
Mayors are elected to up to two four-year terms and are paid $9,600 annually.