Pereira announces bid for mayor

By Jeanie Hankins


Former town councilman Rui Pereira recently announced he will challenge Mayor Everett Sickles in the recall election scheduled for May 2019.

Sickles faces recall after serving for approximately 14 months. An effort spearheaded by former town councilman Ruben Madrid achieved enough signatures to prompt a recall, which was made official last week when Town Council (as a matter of protocol) issued a formal Call to Election.

Madrid never committed to running against the mayor, but was instrumental in gathering signatures. Meanwhile, Pereira after serving six years on Town Council, finished fourth in the race for three seats in the autumn 2018 election.

Around the same time, Pereira made a life changing decision to give up his job in the Valley and buy Savage Communications in Wickenburg. He recently took over the business and renamed it Ascend Security and Audio. Pereira and wife Cathy Weiss are longtime residents of Wickenburg. Weiss serves as executive director of the Del E. Webb Center for the Performing Arts.

Pereira said running against Sickles in the recall election “is just something I feel I need to do, to move Wickenburg forward and make it a more positive place.”

“When it comes to the political  front we have so many positives going on in Wickenburg and (town council) are just really focusing on the negatives. We are at a point right now where the economy all over the country is fantastic. This is an opportunity to capture, and if we don’t capture this opportunity  now and we wait to plan for the future in two or three years down the road, we’re going to miss this bubble.”

Pereira’s experience on Town Council includes a four-year elected term, followed by a period of time when we did not hold public office. When Sickles decided to run for mayor three years ago, he was serving as a councilman and had to resign his seat to run for mayor. Pereira was then appointed to take Sickles’ place on Council and subsequently served two years.

Now looking to unseat the mayor, Pereira said one of his initial goals if elected is to  work with the Chamber of Commerce to fine tune the marketing agreement with the Town and put the issue to rest. He is also an advocate of downtown revitalization and is supportive of the idea of renewing the Community Center building for bigger and better usage. Encouraging larger employers to establish a presence in Wickenburg and create more jobs to keep young people in the community is also a vision of Pereira’s. At the same time, he knows the building of workforce housing is a challenge to be solved through private/public partnership Pereira said.

In addition to his vision for the direction Wickenburg should be moving one more reason he decided to run is the frequent outbursts and negative tenor of Council meetings while Sickles presides. “There is a lack of leadership. And if you attend the council meetings the individual that should be leading those meetings has not really led those meetings. They  have become very unorganized, and that at times has led to screaming and shouting. That doesn’t need to happen. If you go to any other community around Arizona and you listen to their meetings, there is decorum and there is a process that is followed that keeps the meeting going and keeps things under control. We’ve lost that,” Pereira said.

On a positive note, Pereira compliments Sickles and his wife for their generosity and volunteer work with nonprofits in the community. “Everett and Patty are very good people. They’ve done awesome stuff for the community. They volunteer, and business-wise they’ve built a couple of successful businesses and have done very well, but when it comes to the political front, he has really become a disrupter who has taken us in the wrong direction.”

Pereira has until March 6 to gather at least 36 valid nomination signatures and must file them with a candidate packet at the town clerk’s office.

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