Centralia native Chris Cox was reelected to a second term as mayor Tuesday night.
In his first bid for mayor in 2019, Cox unseated former Mayor Tim Grenke by only 10 votes. Grenke had helmed the city during the 10 years prior.
The election Tuesday was a rematch of the 2019 race, and Centralia residents were much more decisive when they elected Cox by a margin of 265 votes. In total, Cox received 465 votes to Grenke’s 209.
“I'm very humbled and honored to be chosen and have that much trust be put into me and the council, in my hands and our hands,” Cox said.
He sees his reelection as affirmation of the work he’s done these past two years, especially with city infrastructure and management. Just minutes after the election results were announced, Cox was thrust right back into “mayor mode” as emotional community members visited his home to celebrate his second term.
“I think some of our people were second guessing —'were we asleep at the wheel, were we just going through the motions, or were people noticing?' But I think that the vote shows that people are noticing what we've done,” Cox said.
He said he had virtually no doubts about the community’s support of his reelection campaign. His strategy included as much face-to-face interaction as was possible during the pandemic, and he said he knocked on every single door in the city.
“I did it, and I will continue to do it, because every citizen's voice matters,” he said.
Cox’s family has had roots in Centralia for generations. “This is my lifelong hometown,” he said. “I'm biased, but I think we have a really special piece of this earth. I'm doing it out of a love of the town and the people”
In his first term, Cox prioritized projects like wastewater systems programs, stormwater reconfigurations along major streets and property renovation.
But what he’s most proud of, he said, “is the project of us working as a team. Especially with the support and resilience of the community in dealing with the challenges the city has faced during the pandemic.”
During his next term, Cox plans to continue to work collaboratively with the city officials to see through the projects he started during his first term.
"I'm passionate about what I do, and I think that if you aren't passionate about what you do, you shouldn't do it. I'm planning on being as vigorously passionate the second term as I was the first."
In Centralia’s aldermen races, there was no competition. Terri Motley – Ward III, Robert Hudson – Ward II and David Wilkins – Ward I, all ran unopposed for reelection.