George Mullen believes communication is the key to successful leadership. After all, the more people understand what is going on, the more receptive they are to changes that  need to take place.

George and his wife, Regina, anxiously await the results of the Municipal Election on the evening of March 6, 2018. Mullen won the District 2 City Council seat, becoming the first African American to hold a council position in Artesia’s town history.

Winning an election as a write-in candidate is no easy feat. To do so requires grit, determination, and a lot of leg work leading up to election day. Fortunately for George Mullen, he and his campaign team were up for the challenge. In March, against all odds as a write-in candidate, Mullen became the first African American in Artesia’s history to win a seat on the city council.

With the impending retirement of Nora Sanchez from District 2, Mullen knew of several individuals that he thought would make a good replacement. The problem was, none of those individuals had any interest in running for the soon-to-be-vacated seat. After the filing deadline had passed while he was out of town, he decided to run as a write-in candidate. Doing so meant added difficulties to the campaign process, but he was undeterred. He surrounded himself with the right people – Jeff Hernandez as his marketing and media coordinator and Rosie Garcia as his campaign manager—and together they set out to introduce Mullen to his constituents and educate people about the process of voting for a write-in candidate. His win might have come as a surprise to some, but not to him. “We did a lot of knocking on doors and talking to people, we sent out flyers with my bio on the front and information about how to do a write-in vote on the back; we had hot pink signs made and hot pink pens that had my name on them, we ran radio ads…We put in a lot of work, so I was comfortable with the effort we had put in,” he said.

Mullen stands next to one of the neon pink signs his campaign’s media coordinator selected in an effort to help him stand out from the crowd during the highly contested Municipal Election. In addition to the pink signs, the campaign committee also handed out neon pink pens emblazoned with Mullen’s name, which they encouraged the constituents to carry with them to the polls lest they need a reminder of how to spell his name.

So what made him decide to run in the first place? A disabled veteran of the United States Navy, he said that after years of residing in and enjoying the “just being” in Artesia, he felt it was time to become more than just a community member. Mullen served 23 years in the United States Navy and during that time, he and his family – wife, Regina and their four children – lived in numerous large cities. However, he said he longed for the warmth and friendliness of his hometown. So after leaving the Navy, the Mullens moved back to Artesia, where for the past 20 years he set his sights on supporting his children in their educational pursuits and taking care of his aging parents. He is now ready to embark on a new chapter as city councilor representing District 2. “With my extensive Naval training, formal education, and life-learned lessons as a foundation, I’ve embarked upon another career – stepping up and becoming a contributor to the continued growth and prosperity of my hometown,” he expressed.

“My main focus is kids and seniors,” he said. He wants to help draw attention to some of the currently unrecognized needs of seniors, and he plans to be a voice for the children of the community since they are not able to represent themselves.

Mullen’s education, in addition to his experience is extensive, having received associates and bachelor’s degrees in business administration, a paralegal certificate from Tulane University, and a master’s degree in computer information and resource management from Webster University.  While in the service he also completed numerous computer, leadership and management, and quality improvement courses, and in addition, he is a graduate of the Army’s Sergeant Major’s Academy. It all combines for a well-prepared and able city councilor. “I’m an old Navy master chief so I’ve been in situations like this before – sitting on boards, coordinating activities, and so forth. I had some time off and now it’s time to get back to work serving my community,” he said.

When asked what’s he’s most excited about with regard to his new role a city councilor, he replied: “I’m most excited about the opportunity to participate!”