By Kayla Anderson
In the near empty Sparks Legislative Building on Monday, the City of Sparks swore in Ed Lawson as its 26th major of Sparks, succeeding Mayor Ron Smith who died of cancer in August 2020.
Lawson first joined the Sparks City Council in November 2010 when he was elected to the Council representing Ward 2. Lawson was then reelected in 2014 and 2018 and appointed Mayor Pro Tempore in November 2018. He will serve out the rest of Mayor Ron Smith’s term through November 2022.
“I’m extremely honored to have the great privilege of serving as mayor of the City of Sparks. I am deeply saddened by the death of my friend and mentor, Mayor Ron Smith, and plan to continue the amazing work he has done for this great city,” Lawson says.
Like Sparks’ previous mayor, Lawson serves on the Truckee Meadows Regional Planning Governing Board and is a proponent of economic development. Lawson is also involved with the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA), the Community Homelessness Advisory Board, and is an active member of the Rotary Club of Sparks.
In the 15-minute induction ceremony preceding the regularly scheduled Sparks City Council meeting on September 14, Lawson took his oath of office as the new mayor of Sparks in a sparsely populated room. Thirty-seven people watched the ceremony on Facebook Live and offered their support. Fellow city council members Paul Anderson, Kristopher Dahir, and Donald Abbott also cheered the move.
To fill his Ward 2 seat, Ed Lawson nominated Dian VanderWell to complete his term as councilmember through November 2022. VanderWell currently serves on the Sparks Planning Commission, Sparks Charter Committee, Regional Planning Commission, and the Technical Review Committee of the Washoe County Home Consortium as well as previously served on the Sparks Citizens Advisory Committee and the Sparks Parks and Recreation Commission.
“Dian comes to us with 12 years of planning commission experience with Washoe County, the City of Sparks and the Regional Planning Commission. She is more than qualified, and I highly recommend her to fill the position as our Ward 2 councilmember,” Mayor Lawson says.
After Lawson’s induction as mayor, Sparks Councilmember Charlene Bybee moved to appoint VanderWell which was met by an unanimous vote by the other city councilmembers. Dian VanderWell then took her oath of office.
Finally, Mayor Lawson nominated longtime city councilwoman Charlene Bybee to be Mayor Pro Tempore, which was unanimously approved. “I’m honored Mr. Mayor, thank you Council,” she replied.
To learn more about the Sparks City Council, visit https://cityofsparks.us/.