Cedar Park, Leander elect new mayors during May 12 city elections

When Matt Powell stepped down in March as Cedar Park Place 1 councilman, it was with the full intention he would one day serve as mayor, he said.

Powell can breathe a sigh of relief after Cedar Park voters on May 12 overwhelmingly selected him over Eddie Hurst and Wayne Ruark. Powell captured 74.52 percent of the vote compared with 25.48 percent from the other two candidates combined, according to preliminary results.

"It's a gratifying experience to have the support of so many friends, residents and local officials," he said. "I am humbled and very excited."

Powell will be sworn in May 24.

First elected to the Cedar Park City Council in 2006, Powell said he will benefit from his relationships with city staff, councilmen and outgoing Mayor Bob Lemon.

Powell stepped down March 13 in concurrence with Cedar Park's resign-to-run rules. Councilman Stephen Thomas was appointed April 19 to take over Powell's remaining one-year term on the council.

Powell replaces Lemon, who was first elected to the council in 1995, serving four terms before taking a break. Lemon successfully ran for mayor in 2005.

Cedar Park voters also approved 14 charter amendments, and Stephen Thomas, Mitch Fuller, Lowell Moore and Don Tracy all won unopposed elections for their respective Cedar Park City Council seats.

Leander picks new mayor

Also, for the first time since 2003, Leander has a new mayor.

According to unofficial results, incumbent John Cowman was ousted May 12 by Place 5 Councilman Chris Fielder, who captured 53.33 percent of the vote. Cowman received 29.87 percent of the votes, while third-place challenger Bob Hanson picked up 16.8 percent.

Upon learning the results, Fielder said he was glad to have the much-anticipated election over.

"From the very start, I have said the election is about the people and not the candidates," he said. "I look forward to getting to work right away."

Fielder has previously expressed interest in establishing a mayor's advisory committee upon taking office. He said during a post-election event that he plans on following through with that plan.

He also has arranged a meeting with Powell in an effort to have the cities collaborate more, Fielder said.

"We're going to start discussing how to move this region forward," Fielder said.

Three Leander City Council incumbents also retained their seats. Michell Cantwell defeated Jerry Perez for the Place 4 seat, while David Siebold withstood Randy Caldwell to keep the Place 6 seat. Kirsten Lynch ran unopposed for Place 2.

Place 5 will be determined by a June 23 runoff vote because no candidate received a 50 percent majority of the vote. Jason Dishongh—37.55 percent—and John F. Perez—36.29—were neck-and-neck all election night. They defeated Leander Zoning and Planning Commissioner Sid Sokol.

By Joe Lanane
Joe Lanane’s career is rooted in community journalism, having worked for a variety of Midwest-area publications before landing south of the Mason-Dixon line in 2011 as the Stillwater News-Press news editor. He arrived at Community Impact Newspaper in 2012, gaining experience as editor of the company’s second-oldest publication in Leander/Cedar Park. He eventually became Central Austin editor, covering City Hall and the urban core of the city. Lanane leveraged that experience to become Austin managing editor in 2016. He managed eight Central Texas editions from Georgetown to San Marcos. Working from company headquarters, Lanane also became heavily involved in enacting corporate-wide editorial improvements. In 2017, Lanane was promoted to executive editor, overseeing editorial operations throughout the company. The Illinois native received his bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University and his journalism master’s degree from Ball State University.


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