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Concepcion ready to add City Councilor to his list of duties

Date: 11/10/2009

By Debbie Gardner

Assistant Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD -- It was a close race, but longtime Sixteen Acres neighborhood advocate Clodo Concepcion did get the nod to serve as Ward 5's first City Council representative since 1959.

Concepcion beat challenger and former City Council member Carol Lewis-Caulton by a slim margin, garnering 51 percent of the vote to Lewis-Caulton's 49 percent.

He attributed the closeness of the results to a reluctance on the part of his neighborhood to see him leave his role as its grassroots advocate.

"That's why a lot of people didn't vote for me. They told me they didn't want to lose me," he told Reminder Publications in a telephone interview the day after the election.

The 77-year old then made it clear he intends to continue serving in his role as president of the 16 Acres Civic Association, and as a park commissioner for the city even as he takes on the duties of a city councilor.

"I've been answering people's phone calls and working with the City Council for 12 years without being paid," he said.

Glad that the race is over -- "I didn't celebrate at all, I stayed home answering [congratulatory] telephone calls [election night] " -- Concepcion said that he's now looking forward to seeing how the new configuration of the City Council, which has expanded from nine to 13 members, is going to function.

"I don't know how this 13 people is going to work," he observed.

But as far as honoring his campaign promises, Concepcion said that will be easy.

"I don't make promises," he said. "I told the people who voted for me that I don't make promises, except to do the best I can."

He extended heartfelt thanks to his campaign workers and supporters.

"I had a very good working committee. They supported me 100 percent," he said.