Outgoing mayor looks back on tenure

John W. “Buzz” Fullen may be stepping down as Henderson mayor, but he said he still wants to remain a fixture.

“Oh no, I’m not going anywhere,” he said with a laugh. “Henderson is my home and I still plan on being an active member of the community.”

Fullen has served eight years in the city’s top spot. Since being elected to the position in 2004, the voters of Henderson re-elected him three times.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve as mayor. It’s a job I have enjoyed for every single day and will remain thankful to the people of Henderson for their support,” he said. “But I also look forward to continuing to work with groups and individuals in the community.”

Fullen said he will miss being an integral part of the decision-making process, but has no regrets.

“I will still continue to work with anyone if they have questions,” he said. “I’m still on several local boards — the downtown Main Street board, Keep Henderson Beautiful and the Henderson Housing Authority board — and I expect to remain involved in what’s going on locally.”

Fullen said he has every confidence that his successor will continue the progress Henderson has seen.

“Pat Brack will do a fine job,” he said. “She’s seen every side of it as a member of council, so she knows what she’s getting into. I wish her and the council the best of luck going forward.”

Looking back on his tenure, Fullen said he can reflect on the many challenges and achievements he was honored to play a part in.

“I feel like I came in to office in 2004 with a fantastic city council and city administration, one that’s just gotten better with each year,” he said. “It hasn’t always been easy, and we didn’t always agree, but we always tried to put the City first in everything we did. I think that’s reflected in what we’ve been able to accomplish.”

Fullen cited the number of successful projects and accomplishments that have come to Henderson during his terms as mayor, adding that it’s a testament to good teamwork above any individual effort.

“It’s never about any one person, it’s always a ‘we’ instead of ‘me’ attitude,” he said. “From [City Manager] Mike Barrow and the city staff, to the council, to the citizens who attend meetings and ask questions […]  working together we’ve achieved far more than could have been done by just one person.”

Fullen said Henderson has seen ongoing street upgrades and improvements, increasing the city’s marketability for industry as well as tourism, and a continued emphasis on revitalizing city parks.

“We’ve seen a radical transformation of Fair Park and Yates Park with spraygrounds, new playground equipment and walking trails,” he said. “Lake Forest Park also has seen a lot of changes, with the building of the civic center and the development of the arboretum […] we’re not there yet but we’ve made great strides in a fairly short amount of time.”

Fullen came back to the importance of collaboration and cooperation in a city the size of Henderson.

“It’s a team effort, it has to be,” he said. “When you’re talking about economic development and building a community, you’re talking about a wide variety of people and organizations.”

Fullen said a healthy city is one that has all these groups working together toward a common goal, “and that’s what I think we’ve had in Henderson, which is how we’ve been able to bring the sort of things we’ve seen in recent years.”

“These things don’t just happen, but they come as a result of a bunch of people and groups coming together and working things out for the greater good,” he said.

“If I did one thing right as mayor I hope it was that much.”

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