The next municipal election is scheduled for May 2, 2023. Although that may seem a long way off, it will be here sooner than we think. One of the people on the ballot will be me, Robert Willey. I am again running for Mayor of the Town of Easton.
I have had the pleasure of serving you for a while, and although some of you know me, I’d like to take a moment and talk about my family, priorities, and accomplishments in my almost 32 years in Easton politics. More importantly, I would like to explain my philosophies, goals, and what I believe are the issues facing Easton and give some insight into how I intend to confront some of the challenges facing all of us. It will take more than one article, so maybe; it is not too early to start.
I have been a lifelong Talbot County resident, attending Easton schools and graduating from Easton High School in 1959. In 1961, I started working at Waverly Press (now Cadmus Publishing). While in their employment, I set up a worldwide distribution system that became highly cost-efficient and reliable and which was Jater copied by their competitors. I was also given the opportunity and completed several courses offered by Virginia Tech, University of Maryland, George Washington University, Chesapeake College, and the University of Baltimore. I retired in 2002 after 41 years of employment.
I married Betsy Lee Thompson from Oxford in 1961, and we raised three children in Easton. Our immediate family has grown to include a daughter-in-law, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Our oldest son is deceased. Our other son, Jimmy, is an Easton High School and Salisbury University graduate, and is self-employed. Our daughter, Ann, also an Easton High School and Salisbury University graduate, is employed by the Federal Government. Our grandchildren now attend or are graduates of Chesapeake College, Salisbury University, James Madison University, and West Virginia University.
I have been a member of numerous civic organizations, including 58 years with the Easton Volunteer Fire Department, serving as a firefighter, secretary, treasurer, and trustee. I have been with the Easton Elks Lodge (56 years), past president of the Easton Kiwanis Club, past member of the Board of Directors of the Safety Council of Maryland, and a life-long member of the First Baptist Church of Easton. I have coached Little League baseball and football for 14 years. The time spent with these groups allowed me to feel comfortable in a leadership role while gaining firsthand knowledge about the needs of the Town.
Politics was a natural progression; you can say I was born into it. My mother, Elizabeth, was the Town Clerk (now known as the Town Manager), a job she held for 43 years until her retirement in 1986. Her insight into town activities was helpful when I decided to campaign for my first election in May 1991. Since then, I have been on the Easton Town Council for six years before becoming Council President for an additional six years. In May 2003, I was elected Mayor of the Town of Easton.
While serving the Town of Easton, I was also a member of the Maryland Municipal League (MML) Board of Directors (2007-;2008, 2017-2018) and served as the District 2 Vice President from 2017-2018. I served on their Legislative Committee for 13 years and was inducted into the MML League Hall of Fame. In 2002, I was elected president of the Eastern Shore Association of Municipalities (ESAM) and Vice President in 2007-2008. I have also been a member of the Government Advisory Committee for the Chesapeake Bay Commission for 12 years. In 2014, received the Prestigious Paul Harris Fellow Award from the Easton Rotary Club.
As with my community experience, the time I have spent serving the citizens of Easton has also given me an understanding of what could be done to improve our town and how I could impact those decisions. So, there it is; a short sketch of Robert Willey. The next article will inform you of accomplishments over the past 31 years and then what I see as issues to be addressed over the next four plus years.
Mayor of Easton