If you live in a small town, then you may know your mayor personally. While we don’t know the following mayors personally (most of whom are elected, not public administrators), we chose these individuals as the top 20 small town mayors because they seem to be shaking up their towns in a good way with more jobs, better infrastructure and/or a positive interactive government.

This list is not, by far, the total account of top small-town mayors in this country. It is a broad representation from across twenty random states. The mayors are listed in order of town size, which is noted in parenthesis after each mayor’s name.

  1. Pat BrigodePat Brigode (329) is a Harley-riding, gun-toting NRA bow- and rifle-competing marrying mayor who has served four terms unopposed as Democratic mayor of Hunker, Pennsylvania. A blur of activity, Mrs. Brigode is dynamic, interesting and immensely popular with her constituents on both sides of the political fence.
  2. Paul HosePaul D. Hose (461), mayor of Clear Spring, Maryland, took office when no one else wanted it in 1984. For the last 26 of 28 years, Hose has led his town as mayor or vice-mayor and works at Vovlo Powertrain. He has never campaigned for his position, so it appears the town is more than satisfied with his leadership.
  3. Susan WebsterSusan J. Webster (663) has been mayor of Bath (often known as Berkeley Springs), West Virginia, since 1996. West Virginia Municipal League recently honored her with West Virginia’s Mayor of the Year. She was chosen by an anonymous group of her peers for her ability to galvanize volunteers and for her leadership in her town and across the state.
  4. Bob DixsonBob Dixson (800 and growing) was not yet mayor when tornadoes leveled his Greensburg, Kansas town in 2007. But, once elected in 2008, Dixson since has become spokesperson for a town that has decided to rebuild green. Outside attention to this initiative, which includes wind energy and LEED buildings, has attracted corporate sponsors and new businesses.
  5. Chuck CarikerChuck Cariker (1,132) is mayor of Tunica, Mississippi, a place that once had the nation’s highest unemployment rate before the casinos arrived. Tunica is introducing an auto plant that this town hopes will help curb any seasonal fluctuations in employment from casinos and agriculture and that may help raise income levels for residents.
  6. Stu FraserStu Fraser (2,221) is mayor of Telluride, Colorado, a town that can swell into the hundreds of thousands during peak ski season or during any given festival. Since his election in 2007, Fraser has focused on affordable housing, renewable energy and environmental and economic stability. Fraser has, in conjunction with other regional governments, created Telluride Renewed, Regional Economics Futures Task Force and the Mayoral Energy Forum.
  7. Don CarterDon Carter (3,932), mayor of Clifton Forge, Virginia, snagged a former Roanoke town manager to help as interim town manager for his town. Carter is pro-growth in a town that has slowly died with the demise of the railroad industry. The town now focuses on the arts as a growth factor for tourism. Carter also has managed to avoid increases in taxes or fees for Clifton Forge residents over the upcoming year.
  8. Artie StutevilleArtie Stuteville (5,011) is the laundromat-owning, taxi-cab-driving mayor of Paola, Kansas. When she’s not hauling citizens around in her cab, listening to their stories, she’s attending various city meetings, ceremonies and public events in her third term as the Paola Mayor. She thinks the worst part of the job is telling people ‘no’ and the ability to treat people equally and fairly.
  9. Maury LaRueMaury LaRue (6,442) is a motorcycle-loving individual who led this year’s annual Mayor’s ride in Sturgis, South Dakota. He knows the positive financial impact this internationally-known annual motorcycle rally has on his town, and he is noted as the perfect promoter for this event. Sturgis’s devotion to Jack Daniel’s is noted as well, and one of Mayor Maury LaRue’s jobs is to autograph bottles that are placed in commemorative gift baskets.
  10. Chipper McDermottChipper McDermott (6,579) is mayor of Pass Christian, Mississippi, and served during Hurricane Katrina and has handled PR for this coastal town during the BP oil disaster. City hall workers and the library have been housed in temporary trailers since Katrina washed away most of the municipal buildings in 2005. Now, three new buildings stand near the pre-Katrina site along Scenic Drive.
  11. Daune GardnerDaune Gardner (7,400) is mayor of Waxhaw, North Carolina, one of the fastest growing communities in Union County and in North Carolina. Under her watch, the Waxhaw Area Research Park concept is being explored to bring an RTP-style research park and regional employment center to the area. She also is a proponent for saving the town’s historic structures.
  12. Ann BradshawAnn Bradshaw (8,188), mayor of Brazil, Indiana, is pushing Brazil into the 21st century with a new water tower. Through a grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and a State Revolving Fund Loan, Brazil has more than $8.15 million available for its Water System Improvement Projects.
  13. John RuschJohn Rusch (8,419) was re-elected mayor of Tomah, Wisconsin in 2010. He also was Tomah mayor from 1986 to 1990 and then a city administrator. He won with about 60-percent of the vote. His first major accomplishment was the recent groundbreaking for a Veterans Memorial. He jumped from the high dive at the Aquatic Center wearing a Navy uniform he bought on eBay to raise $10,000 for the monument.
  14. Ed MalloyEd Malloy (9,509) is mayor of Fairfield, Iowa, named by Mother Earth News as one of the “12 Great Places You’ve Never Heard Of.” Fairfield hosts an Eco-Fair every year, and has the most homes with solar energy or other green building features in Iowa. The county has the most acres of organic cultivation in the state and many small businesses thrive here.
  15. Rick ElumbaughRick Elumbaugh (9,556), mayor of Batesville, Arkansas, is trying to move his town forward with new recreational facilities that could help generate national recognition for the city and boost growth with a one-cent sales tax. Batesville is listed in The 100 Best Small Towns in America by Norman Crampton.
  16. Richard HodgesRichard Hodges (10,433), mayor of Millington, Tennessee, recently was in the spotlight — thanks to major flooding that occurred in his town in May. He was called to testify about lessons learned from storms that dumped more than 20 inches of rain in Tennessee. The new farmer’s market, which was to open on the day of flooding, opened in July and is thriving.
  17. Lisa SwarthoutLisa Swarthout (10,922), mayor of Grass Valley, California, is pursuing a policy of careful growth and is against “big-box” stores in favor of local business expansion, despite local growth estimates that have fallen short, thanks to the economy. She pushed for a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries until the town can draft local ordinances, and recently listened to local residents about their desires to own up to four chickens in an urban environment.
  18. Steven ConnellySteven Connelly (14,431) is mayor of Berea, Kentucky, the fastest growing town in this state and one of the fastest growing towns in the nation, with an increase of 43.4 percent since 2000. In 2009, Berea was named among the “Nation’s Top 25 Arts Destinations” by American Style Magazine, and Berea’s Kentucky Artisan Center presented a plaque to Mayor Connelly.
  19. Mohammed HameeduddinMohammed Hameeduddin (39,260) is a practicing Muslim and mayor of Teaneck, New Jersey — a town that has a 30 percent Jewish population. In the spring of 1964, Teaneck became the first American town with a white majority to desegregate its schools. Today, Teaneck continues to prove itself as an incubator for understanding in a cultural small-town melting pot.
  20. Berlin MyersBerlin Myers (48,091) is know as “Mr. Clean,” and, as mayor of Summerville, South Carolina, recently was honored with a bronze statue by his grateful constituents. In his ten terms as mayor, he brought a village to town status, drawing the lion’s share of newcomers to the Lowcountry. Myers is the oldest and one of the longest-termed mayors still serving in the state.

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