OLYMPIA - Former KGY radio personality Dick Pust announced Monday he will run for mayor, little more than three weeks after his 51-year tenure at the station abruptly ended.
“I always wanted to run for office, and I wasn’t able to do so because of FCC constraints,” said Pust, who suddenly separated from the radio station Jan. 5 after being asked to take a pay cut. Almost immediately, people began to campaign for him to run for mayor, including a Facebook group.
“For nearly 50 years, Olympia residents set their watches by two things: the Olympia Brewery whistle and Dick Pust welcoming the morning on his AM radio show,” according to a posting on the site. “Now that both are fond memories of the past, join in the effort to draft Dick Pust for Olympia Mayor.”
Pust was moved.
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“A lot of people have expressed their desire to support me,” he said. “So many people had said, ‘Do it.’ So I’m going to do it.”
Pust, 70, was born in Olympia and has lived in the city continuously since 1975. He has a degree in political science from what was then Saint Martin’s College. He lacks elected political experience but has served on the Olympia Planning Commission and was co-chairman for the Olympia Citizens for Schools.
“I realize I’m an outsider and not a politician, but I’m going to give it my best shot,” he said.
Pust said his platform for mayor will be spelled out later. He plans to begin campaigning for the Nov. 8 general election.
“I’m putting together the specifics, but I would like to see a vibrant downtown and, of course, Olympia is more than just downtown,” he said. “I would like to see a downtown that is all income levels represented.”
Mayor Doug Mah, in the final year of his four-year term, announced Jan. 3 he will not seek re-election. He is longest serving council member, with nearly 10 years’ experience.
Mah could not be reached for comment. He said in January that he would wait to see who announced a campaign for mayor before making any endorsement and probably would not endorse a successor if more than one City Council member announced a bid.
Pust is the first to announce for the mayor position, though several City Council members have said they wouldn’t rule it out — Stephen Buxbaum, Rhenda Strub and Karen Rogers.
Pust is perhaps best known for his morning drive radio show, which featured thousands of community members as guests over 33 years. His tenure at KGY ended after Jennifer Kerry, an owner of the station, asked him to relinquish his duties as general manager. Pust was offered the chance to continue his morning show for $15 an hour, he said in an interview with KMAS Radio in Shelton. He declined.
Kerry said that the station couldn’t afford to continue paying a general manager.
Pust said he would consider taking another job; the mayor’s job pays just $19,968 per year.
At any rate, he would give the mayor’s position “a full-time effort, so to speak,” he said. “I’ve saved, and I can manage.”