LANCASTER – Vice Mayor Henry Hearns, saying he could build coalitions needed to address the city’s key issues, announced Monday that he will run for mayor in April. Hearns, 72, hopes to become Lancaster’s second directly elected mayor, succeeding his longtime friend and City Council colleague Frank Roberts. Roberts, who has been elected mayor five times, is supporting Hearns’ mayoral bid. “I want to continue to keep our team together,” Hearns said. “With Frank stepping down, I can fill that hole.” Hearns said his campaign slogan will be “Building bridges to cross rivers.” He points to a record of building coalitions among leaders in government, education, religion and business to address city problems. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals “If you don’t have a support system, you don’t get anything done,” Hearns said. “I’m glad to be offering myself as a public servant.” Hearns is serving his fourth term as a councilman. In 1991, he served as mayor under the city’s old system of rotating the post among council members. During most of his years on the council, he has served as vice mayor. Roberts said he intends to remain very politically active, but declined to state whether he would seek another elected office. All four of Hearns’ council colleagues are supporting him in the mayor’s race. Voters in the April 11 city election will fill the mayor’s post and the council seats now held by Hearns and Ed Sileo. Candidates can start filing their nomination papers Dec. 19 and must do so by Jan. 13. Sileo has not yet made a formal announcement, but indicated a desire to continue to serve on the council. “We’ve laid the groundwork for increases in the retail and restaurant sector. We’ve done a good job of job creation,” Sileo said. “I think we’ve laid the foundation for change. The fruits of that labor will be coming out in the next few months.” Except for Hearns, the only declared candidate in city races is Ron Smith, the city’s Planning Commission chairman who wants a council seat. A former sheriff’s deputy and court bailiff, Smith is a graphics-design instructor at Antelope Valley College and has served on the Planning Commission since 2001. Hearns serves as bishop of First Missionary Baptist Church of Littlerock. Hearns has been with the church since coming to the Antelope Valley in 1965. He worked for 26 years as an engineer at Edwards Air Force Base, retiring in 1989. Jim Skeen, (661) 267-5743 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!