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An Interview with the Mayor

Max A. Bacon

You’ve been mayor since 1985, when your father, Arthur T. Bacon, passed away while in office. How did you get into politics, and why?

I was born and raised in Smyrna. I always had an interest in local politics and local government. When I was in school, I was so intrigued by Washington, D.C. and how it operated. I was on the city council first for six years before becoming mayor.

What would you consider the highlights of your career as mayor?

I was really interested in sports, and we didn’t have many facilities for young adults, so one of the first reasons I ran was to improve that situation.

The redevelopment of downtown Smyrna was another one, which led to big changes. Purchasing Brawner Hall and the Reed House and being able to redevelop these properties is something I’m so proud of.

Also, I’ve always been a champion of city employees and always wanted to make sure that they had a good salary and a good retirement. They are the ones who provide most of the services to the city.

What were some of the most challenging issues you faced?

Surviving the redevelopment and convincing people that it was worth it. Also, trying to balance family life with being the mayor and working full-time at the post office was difficult. I had two heart attacks in 2016, and in 2017 I had a couple of stents put in. I’ll be 71 in just a few days, and I just don’t feel like I’ll be able to give 110% anymore.

What are you looking forward to doing after leaving office?

I have my dog, Wyoming, and my cars, and I’m looking forward to whatever the next part of my life has to offer. I plan on traveling back to Wyoming and South Dakota and that part of the country. God did so great out there with the beautiful scenery and the mountains.

What will you miss most about not being mayor any longer?

Someone calling me with a problem and being able to do something about it.

What advice would you give to the incoming mayor?

First and foremost, you need to be patient. You really need to listen to other people. Surround yourself with people who know what they’re doing and then let them do their jobs. Just remember that it doesn’t make any difference who gets the job done, as long as it gets done. I think I’ve been successful because I’ve had the best people around me.