Nan Gorman, the widow of the late Mayor Bill Gorman who passed away on October 9, took the oath of office following her appointment by the Hazard City Commission to fill the remainder of her husband’s term.
“I never supposed at any time in my life that I would be doing this, so I’m pretty excited,” Mayor Gorman said. “But it’s going to be a challenge. It’s going to be wonderful with the exceptional and remarkable team that I have to work with, and it’s going to be all right.”
Mayor Gorman said she expects to hit the ground running at City Hall and hopes to carry on the same work her husband and his administration undertook.
Nan Gorman will remain mayor of Hazard until at least December 31, when her interim term ends, but she is also hoping to capture a full four year term during the November 2 election. She filed her intent to run as a write-in candidate last week. Her opponent in the race is retired city police officer Ken Bryant.
“Dr. Gilbert came to me one night and asked me to run,” she said. “They wanted somebody to be mayor of this city, to carry on what my husband did. Since I was always with my husband for 33 years in the political sphere of this town, I felt like I should take it, and I wanted to take it, and I want to win.”
But Gorman admitted that winning with such a short period of time ahead of her — roughly two weeks before the election — won’t be an easy task.
“In two weeks time we have to cover a lot of area, and tell people how to vote if they want to vote for me, how to do it,” she said, adding that as a write-in candidate, voters will have to physically write her name on the ballot rather than make a selection from names already printed.
And her opponent in the race, Lothair resident Ken Bryant, who is not related to Police Chief Ronnie Bryant, will also be campaigning around Hazard for a shot to lead City Hall. Bryant told the Herald on Monday that he’s ready to continue his campaign and get his message out that he is ready to lead the City and continue the progress Mayor Bill Gorman made during his tenure at City Hall.
“I welcome the challenge of Ms. Gorman running as a write-in,” Bryant said. “When I first got [in the race] in January, I wanted to see a positive change in the progress that was going on in the time, and I still want to see that. And I believe with my experience I can do that.”
Bryant, a life long resident of Hazard, said he wants to have a good working relationship with both the city commission and local and state agencies to affect positive change for the City of Hazard.
“I want to be able to talk to people on a daily basis concerning the problems of the City of Hazard. I want to be a working mayor. I want to be a hands-on mayor,” Bryant explained. “I want to be able to say that if you can’t come to me, I’ll come to you.”
A retired Hazard police officer, Bryant said he wants to see the police department maintained and more officers added when possible.
“I think the ever-growing need for them is there, and I realize we have to be on a competitive basis with surrounding agencies that a lot of them (Hazard’s officers) have went to,” he said. “It seems like they get their training, and they get a better job offer and they go. We need to retain those officers. We’ve got some fine officers down there. They all do a great job.”
Bryant said ultimately he wants to see new jobs come into Hazard, the continued of expansion of waterlines in Perry County, and a city government that is open to the people.
“I am ready to help, along with the city commissioners, to continue the progress of this city,” he said.
But in the meantime, Mayor Nan Gorman will continue to lead the City of Hazard for at least another two months, something City Commissioner Dr. Fitz Gilbert said she is more than able to handle. Gilbert said the commission understood that with her experience, Gorman was the best choice to become Hazard’s next mayor.
“I think Nan will be a wonderful mayor,” Dr. Gilbert said. “She’s been exposed to it for now 32 years, and she has that experience behind her. She will be wonderful. She will do a good job.”
Mayor Gorman and Ken Bryant are so far the only two candidates in the upcoming mayor’s race, but other Hazard residents considering a run for mayor have until 4 p.m. on October 22 to file their intent to run as a write-in candidate.