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Politics

Longtime Carlsbad Mayor Bud Lewis Dies

Former Carlsbad Mayor Bud Lewis in a screenshot from a City of Carlsbad video, Nov. 18, 2010.
City of Carlsbad / YouTube
Former Carlsbad Mayor Bud Lewis in a screenshot from a City of Carlsbad video, Nov. 18, 2010.

Bud Lewis, a political fixture in Carlsbad for four decades, died Wednesday. He was 83.

Lewis served on the City Council for 40 years, including as mayor from 1986 to 2010. From the time he was elected in 1970, Carlsbad grew from a city of 15,000 people to 105,000 when he retired.

Current mayor, Matt Hall, said that Lewis "embodied the very best of Carlsbad."

"He devoted his life to public service and remained committed to the principles of a fair and open local government, accessible to everyone regardless of social or economic status," Hall said.

Lewis was instrumental in passing a growth management plan, and his work to reduce the city's dependence on imported water contributed to the development of the major desalination plant being constructed now on Carlsbad's coastline.

Several former colleagues said that Lewis never forgot to his humble roots.

According to the city's website, Lewis' family homesteaded in Arkansas but lost their farm during the Great Depression and moved to California. Lewis graduated from high school in 1949 and then served as a weapons instructor in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. He later became a high school teacher and coach.

Lewis and his late wife, Beverly, were honored in 2009 as Carlsbad Citizens of the Year. She died in 2011. They had two children and two grandchildren. Lewis recently married Sibylla Voll, who survives him.