“God spoke to me and said it was going to be Dave. I felt it and I had a peace ever since then,” she said. “It feels right. I think Dave knows what’s best for Norwalk; I really do.”
Dave Light, a Democrat, defeated Republican incumbent Rob Duncan, who was seeking his third term.
“He was his party chairman for a lot of years too. He’s a politician. I’ve never been through this before and I’m not a politician. I know people were ready for a change, so I knew going in I had a pretty tall order here and it was going to be an uphill battle,” Light said.
While Light gained nearly 62 percent of the votes for mayor, “I knew it was going to be an uphill battle,” he added. “I didn’t do this because I needed a job; I did it because I’m at a good point in my life to get something done.”
Many family members and friends celebrated Light’s victory Tuesday night at the Norwalk Eagles. He said his successful campaign wouldn’t have been possible without them.
“It’s been very humbling and it’s exciting,” said the mayor-elect, who added he is “excited to get started.”
“I think people are ready for a change and a lot people came out and proved that here tonight. So I am extremely excited about this.”
Campaigning as a family
“We had to have a family pow-wow before this started and (we) said, ‘This is going to be a long, hard year, so do we want to do it?,’” Light said.
The campaign was a family effort. His son Nate, of Norwood, created a website while his daughter Micki designed the campaign T-shirt which featured a lighthouse.
“Obviously our last name is Light, so it’s a bit of a pun there. Also, the lighthouse guides the ships in the darkness and when it’s storming and I felt like we needed someone in the mayor’s position who is strong enough to guide them in and stand there and not hide during the storms. To be the one to take the backlash and all the negativity, so the rest of the city knows what direction to go in,” Micki said.
She used social media, specifically Facebook, to put the word out about her father’s campaign. In addition, the young lady designed the campaign float for the Fourth of July parade. It too included a lighthouse.
“I really feel like no matter what I did, it didn’t feel like enough. He really stayed positive through the whole thing,” Micki said.
Even when the rest of the family was tired or had received negative feedback, her father “was ready to go back at it,” she added. “He would tell us, ‘Aw, that doesn’t matter; it’s fine.’ … He was ready and positive all the time.”
Light’s wife didn’t hesitate when she was asked about the campaign experience.
“It was so much fun,” Kim said. “The part I dreaded most was going door to door because I’m bashful and I feel awkward, but that was the most fun.”
She said enjoyed meeting people, “hearing what they had to say” and shaking residents’ hands.
“Seeing how they reacted to Dave was amazing. Just amazing,” Kim added.
“We have had so many tragedies in our family, the four of us are just tight. I can’t even describe it; we love each other so much. We are just so blessed,” she said. “As a matter fact before we came here tonight, we all held hands and said a prayer.”
Light, a 1975 Norwalk High School graduate, served the city for 34 years as a police officer. He retired Feb. 16, 2018 as the chief, a position he held for nearly nine years.
“Being born here and spending my whole life here, I know about every family everywhere. And of course, I’ve been up and down every street for 34 years,” Light said. “Before I ever decided to run (for mayor), I was hearing a lot of concerns from people in the community, just from talking to them all while I was on patrol and working cases with them.”
In mid-December, Light announced he was running for mayor.
“Going door to door was different than being a police officer,” he said. “Going door to door (on the campaign), you learn what their needs and wants are. About myself, I learned I wasn’t a police officer any more. It was just Dave Light, the citizen.”
He compared his 10 years of working at Norwalk Furniture as the equivalent of a college degree.
“You knew everybody because their grandparents worked there. They worked there, their children. My dad was there for 36 years and Kim’s dad was there for 43, so it was a good sampling of what people Norwalk are all about — just hard working people who care about the community,” Light said.
Noting that Norwalk has “great school systems, great teachers” and impressive facilities such as the Ernsthausen Performing Arts Center and Ernsthausen Community Center, “I just didn’t see our current mayor doing everything he could be doing,” Light said.
“I don’t want to pat myself on the back, but (we need) more of a leader to bring everyone together and really move the city forward.”
As a veteran police officer, Light said he has a unique perspective on the people of Norwalk. Even though he said he has a handle on “the needs and wants of the people,” there was more the city could be doing to help its residents during Duncan’s administration.
“I was concerned that there is so much more we could be doing that we’re not doing. I think we have an absolutely amazing city; there are just generations of amazing people here,” he added. “I just love this city.”