BELTON — Mayor Pro Tem Marion Grayson on Wednesday announced her decision to run in Belton’s mayoral election.

If elected, Grayson, a licensed Realtor, would

be the first woman to hold the office of mayor since Belton was incorporated in 1850.

Grayson downplayed the historical significance of her decision to run, instead choosing to focus on her time on the Belton City Council and her deep roots in the community.

Before being elected to the Council in 2004, Grayson was a member of the Belton Chamber of Commerce and served as the association’s chairwoman in 2000.

She described how her family moved to Belton her freshman year of high school.

“My junior year I was elected mascot,” Grayson said, “and I don’t think I’ve stopped cheering for Belton ever since.”

She said her 10 years on the council coincided with a 32 percent increase in Belton’s population.

“When I was elected in 2004, Belton’s population was about 14,000,” Grayson said. “At our most recent council meeting, we heard it was over 19,000. That’s a lot of growth in a short time.”

If she is elected, Grayson said the city will continue to deal with the ongoing influx of new residents by focusing on updating and improving infrastructure.

“We’ll find a way to handle the growth,” Grayson said. “We’ll work on the roads and bridges.”

Although the filing period to appear on the ballot for Belton’s May 10 election doesn’t open until Wednesday, Grayson already has support from fellow council members for her candidacy.

Councilman David K. Leigh said he encouraged Grayson in both her initial run for council and in her decision to run for mayor.

He also said anyone who decides to run against Grayson will have a difficult time.

“It would be an uphill battle,” Leigh said. “She’s such a positive person and she does everything she can to promote Belton.”

Leigh also said he finds Grayson’s lack of a definitive platform to be an asset. “To me it’s a little scary when politicians running for office come forward with lots of ideas,” Leigh said. “It means that they have lots of ideas on how to spend taxpayer’s money.”

Councilman Dan Kirkley also is supporting Grayson’s candidacy for mayor. “She’s going to be an incredible mayor,” Kirkley said. He cited Grayson’s “diplomacy and professionalism” as strengths she will bring to the office that will help her deal with any recalcitrant council members.

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