MOSCOW – Bill Lambert knew when he was first campaigning for mayor of Moscow that he would not stand for re-election after his second term.
He believes in the value of term limits and believes the country is better off when politicians – including those in Congress – stay on top of their welcome.
“I don’t think these people really know what’s going on in the world, even the rest of the United States, and in some ways I don’t even think they care,” he said. he said about longtime US Senators and Representatives.
After eight years at the helm of Moscow, his term will end on Monday when mayor-elect Art Bettge is sworn in at a city council meeting at city hall.
Lambert said he took office with the aim of working with other entities in the Palouse, such as the University of Idaho, Latah County and the Moscow Chamber of Commerce to complete projects .
“We have to work together to get things done,” he said. “We cannot do it on our own, we are too small.”
On Tuesday, the mayor reflected on what the city has accomplished during his tenure. He pointed to the new Moscow police station which was funded by a 10-year general bond of $ 9.64 million adopted in 2019. The larger and more modern station on Southview Avenue will be operational next month. .
Lambert credited an “excellent committee” of community members who helped make the new police station a reality.
“This is something that has been talked about for years and years and years, but no one has ever really made a difference in this matter,” he said.
The city worked with Schweitzer Engineer Laboratory as the region’s largest private employer sought a location to build a new 160,000 square foot printed circuit board factory in Moscow. The installation is expected to be completed in the south of the city by the end of 2022.
“We will see them grow in our city for decades and decades to come,” he said.
Lambert was vice chairman of the board of the Pullman-Moscow regional airport as the airport embarked on multi-million dollar projects to realign its runway and, now, build a larger terminal.
“This airport is going to be something that we can be proud of for decades and decades and that will continue to grow,” he said.
Of course, there were challenges, none greater than COVID-19 and how that forced Moscow to consider something the city and country hadn’t endured since the 1918 flu pandemic.
“There is no manual for this,” he said.
The city has put in place mask and social distancing warrants along the way. Lambert lamented how this has become a politicized problem. As someone who knows several people who have died of COVID-19, the mayor said these precautions were not about politics, but the health of the community.
Lambert said the city has documented its decisions to create a real playbook so that in the event that there is another pandemic in a few years, future generations can see what actions worked and what didn’t.
Going forward, Lambert said he will miss working with city staff and community members he met during his tenure as mayor.
He will continue to sit on the boards of local organizations and wants to continue to be involved with the airport.
Lambert served the city of Moscow for 21 years as a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, City Adjustment Council and mayor.
At the end of his term as mayor, Lambert said it has been an honor to fulfill these roles for the city.
“I don’t take it for granted,” he said. “I don’t take it lightly.”