Pundits declare the 2020 presidential contest to be the most important election of our lifetimes. But small-town voters will also be selecting the front-line leaders to guide their communities through unprecedented challenges.

At the top of this list of important local leaders are small-town mayors. While their roles and powers vary broadly, they are each in positions to direct and persuade their communities in specific directions.

To help us understand how small-town mayoral candidates are feeling about their communities, the Daily Yonder spoke to local politicians from Ohio, Nevada, and New York. Why run for office now? What does the future hold? What can the rest of us learn from their experience? Together, the stories of these candidates and the communities they want to represent paint a picture of a rural America that is simultaneously up against tough odds and optimistic about what comes next.

August 24: How a Young New York Mayor Turned People’s Skepticism Into Respect

Oswego Mayor William Barlow inherited a city with rising taxes and souring moods. But through some outside-the-box thinking, he steered the city to its first tax cut in two decades. 

August 25: West Wendover Mayor Seeks Re-Election in His Small Hometown. Will the Pandemic Hurt His Chances?

A small town in Nevada elected its youngest, first openly gay person, and first Latino Mayor in 2016. With a sinking economy and a raging pandemic, will it give him another shot?

August 26: A 24-Year Old Mayor Leads his Town Through a Pandemic in the Middle of a Nuclear Scandal

Oak Harbor Mayor Quinton Babcock gives the Daily Yonder an exclusive look at how he’s handled one crisis after another. 

Like this series?

Help us spotlight other local leaders. Is there a small-town mayor you’d like to see featured in the Daily Yonder?

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.