Ken Cook, President of the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce and one of the founders of the Mesquite Best of Fest Film Festival, explains the line-up for this year’s Festival which starts Oct. 5 and runs through Oct. 9. Photo by Barbara Ellestad.

Ken Cook. File photo by Barbara Ellestad.

Just ten days after the candidate filing period closed that saw three people file for the Mesquite mayoral seat, one officially dropped out of the race on Monday, March 28.

Ken Cook submitted his withdrawal to the Mesquite City Clerk Tracy Beck leaving two candidates in the race. Incumbent Mayor Al Litman and Arthur Pereida will automatically advance to the general election in November skipping the primary election in June.

“In accordance with NRS 293C.180, if not more than twice the number of candidates to be elected have filed for nomination for an office, the names of those candidates will be omitted from all ballots for the primary city election and will be placed on all ballots for the general city election,” according to Beck.

In an email statement to the Mesquite Local News, Cook said “’This is to confirm the fact that I have decided to withdraw from the Mayoral election. After evaluating the pro’s and con’s (sic) of being Mayor with a number of prominent local residents and some City staff, reviewing the City audited financials, hearing about pending litigation, and speaking with leaders of major organizations outside of Mesquite, I have concluded that the lack of leadership, vision and progress of the current administration has caused Mesquite to be at least 10 years away from developing into a well-balanced, thriving and respected community.

“Given my personal time horizon, and after having already given many years of volunteer time and personal expense to the community, I concluded that it’s time to move on to a town that has made better progress. Therefore, I am not only withdrawing from the mayoral race, but I am also withdrawing from Mesquite.

“I realize that I may be disappointing some very wonderful people in Mesquite who share my frustrations, but please keep in mind that Mesquite has been a very big disappointment to me. I sincerely wish everyone the very best, and ask that you please pay very close attention to the election. This is a very critical year for Mesquite.”

Cook served as president of the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce in 2015 and was lauded for making significant improvements in the operation and responsiveness of the organization. He was also a founding member of the Mesquite Regional Business, Inc. (MRBI) in 2012 along with current MRBI CEO George Gault and city council candidate David Ballweg.

In 2013 Cook used his passion for documentary films to help establish the Mesquite Best of Fest Film Festival in partnership with DOCUTAH, the Eureka Community Initiative, Redd Hills Cinema that recently closed and the Eureka Casino Resort. The Festival became a popular part of Mesquite’s community drawing record crowds the last two years and all proceeds benefited the Mesquite Reads summer reading program at local elementary schools.