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Pud Colquiltt.jpgSedona is only a young adult as a city, according to Sedona Mayor Pud Colquitt. Preventing a rough transition into adulthood will take some work, but solid plans are in place, she said. 
By Tyler Midkiff
Larson Newspapers

Sedona is only a young adult as a city, according to Sedona Mayor Pud Colquitt. Preventing a rough transition into adulthood will take some work, but solid plans are in place, she said. There?s a lot to keep Sedona?s first publicly elected mayor busy.

?I try to be a very active mayor,? Colquitt said. ?I want people to trust me. I want people to feel free to come and talk to me and the other council members.?

She encourages public participation by arranging frequent ?coffee chats? and ?listening sessions? where people can speak directly to her about their concerns. She does her best to address those concerns with the departments and agencies that can do something about them, she said.

The chats and listenings are helpful for people who feel too intimidated to address the city council, Colquitt said. They also give her valuable opportunities to explain her decisions to the public.

?I think that our level of government is the most difficult,? Colquitt said, ?because we?re day to day with the public. We?re dependent on the county, the state and the federal government. It?s the most difficult but the most rewarding, too.?

Recently, Colquitt traveled to Washington, D.C., to seek federal funding for local wastewater, pump stations and regional dispatch for the Sedona Police Department. She believes the trip went well, she said. And she was pleased with the support she received from U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl [R-Ariz.] and Rep. Rick Renzi [R-District 1], she said.

Traveling to D.C. awakened fond memories for Sedona?s mayor. She was reminded of the years she spent working for U.S. Sen. John L. McClellan [D-Ariz.]— best remembered for his public opposition to the Joseph McCarthy hearings and for leading the committee that investigated Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters.

?Those were very exciting times,? Colquitt said.

For years, she lived and worked in the nation?s capital. Revisiting the town was a fascinating experience, she said, but she?s happy to be Sedona?s mayor.

?I enjoy being the mayor and I?m totally committed to it,? she said.

She would love to further fund the city?s nonprofit organizations, give more money to the arts and solve West Sedona?s traffic problems, she said.

But the practical approach is to develop a long-range plan that would allow the city to do all of those things over time, she said.

Updating the infrastructure is the first priority, she said. Sedona needs to be looking toward the future and that means creating a good solid plan and sticking to it, she said.

?You can?t go back the way it was, but you?ve got to manage what?s coming,? she said.

Colquitt believes in taking care of the elderly and she hopes to eventually be able to provide more transportation options for children after they get out of school, she said.

But she has no desire to raise taxes. Currently, there are no taxes on groceries or on property and she?s not even considering changing that, she said.

As for Sedona?s affordable housing issue, it is her opinion that the issue will not be solved, she said. Sedona is surrounded by national forests, so there is only so much land to develop.

?That?s not going to change,? she said. ?No one here wants to change that.?

There will be no sprawl in Sedona, she said.

?I?ve been very blessed,? Colquitt said of her life in Sedona. ?I?m vested here. This is home for me and I want to do the best I can for as long as I can.?

Colquitt was born in Hot Springs, Ark. She attended the University of Arkansas where she earned a degree in political science.

After school, she left for Washington to work for McClellan .

She later married and had two children in the D.C. area, she said.

In 1991, while living in Winter Park, Fla., her husband passed away.

A short time later, she moved to Sedona. In 2000, she became involved with city planning and zoning and was elected to the Sedona City Council in 2004.

Literally minutes later, she was surprised when the council elected her mayor.

?I didn?t know that was going to happen,? she said.

Later that year, voters decided that Sedona?s mayor should be publicly elected.

Colquitt ran for the position and in 2006 became Sedona?s first publicly elected mayor.

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