Retired customs agent is running for council

By Tony E. Windsor

Since coming to Laurel in 2002, Bill Trujillo and his wife Threse have taken great measures to become active parts of the community. Both have become involved in community service projects and on Monday afternoon Bill Trujillo filed to run for a seat on the Laurel Town Council. Trujillo, a retired federal employee, says he sees great growth headed Laurel’s way and he would like very much to be a part of helping to manage that growth in a positive way. He is running for the Ward 3 council seat currently held by Kevin Taaffe. “I want to be a part of a process that addresses the issues facing Laurel by working together,” he said. “Unfortunately, I see some division on the council. The current Ward 3 councilman is unable to be at a lot of the council meetings and I feel that when you serve in that role you must be at the meetings. I am retired and have the opportunity to dedicate my time to the job.” The issue of growth is just one area that Trujillo sees as important to the town. “Growth is coming to Laurel,” he said. “We must manage that growth in a way that creates the least adverse impact of our people. I do not support a concept of increasing taxes as a way to address these issues. When growth occurs we should help to spread the costs and allow everyone to pay his or her fair share.” Trujillo’s activity in the Laurel community is not limited to town government. He is already a member of the Laurel Lion’s Club and American Legion and is a board member and secretary of the Friends of the Laurel Library, president of the Friendship Club of St. Phillips Church and trustee on the board of the Laurel Community Foundation. Trujillo graduated from the University of California at Berkley with a major in political science. He served three years in the United States Army where one of his duties was acting as an Arabic translator. He spent 32 years with United States Customs Service and during his career worked out of offices in Washington, D.C., Portland, Ore., and San Francisco. His service with U.S. Customs also took him to Saudi Arabia in 1991 and 1993 and from 1994 through 1998 Trujillo was chief of the United States Custom Service’s advisory team in Kuwait.
Trujillo feels the most important thing a Laurel councilman can do is work hard to understand the issues and make decisions based on what is best for the community. “I have the time that is needed to do my homework when it comes to serving on the council,” he said. “If there is an issue that I am not familiar with I will dig in and learn it.” Though he supports Laurel’s Mayor John Shwed, Trujillo makes it clear that he is an independent thinker. “I feel we have a great mayor and he has done a good job of leading the community,” he said. “But, I am an independent person and as a councilman I would vote my conscience. I feel as a member of council we should work as a team and that has been lacking, I feel.” Trujillo and his wife reside in Laurel. He has two adult sons, one in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the other in Portland, Ore. Shwed and council president Ann Davis, an at-large representative, have announced their intention to run for re-election in the upcoming March municipal elections. The election will be held on March 24. The deadline for candidate registration is Feb. 17 and registration can be done at town hall Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Voter registration deadline is also Feb. 17. Special registration extended hours of 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. will be offered between Jan. 27 and Feb. 17.

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