Remembering Bud Lewis

Bud Lewis was a valuable part of  Carlsbad community and will be greatly missed.  He was the mayor of Carlsbad for 24 years.

City of Carlsbad

Bud Lewis was a valuable part of Carlsbad community and will be greatly missed. He was the mayor of Carlsbad for 24 years.

Maggie Sweeney, editor in chief

For 52 years, Bud Lewis served Carlsbad as a high school teacher, football coach, city council member and mayor. Lewis has contributed incredible advancements to the city that will always be remembered. On Oct. 15, Lewis passed away at the age of 83,  leaving many citizens reminiscing his work.

Coming from the Great Depression, Lewis’s family joined the migration from Arkansas to California. After graduating high school in 1949, Lewis served as a weapons instructor for the U.S. Marine Corps from 1951 to 1954 during the Korean war, sparking his interest in government.

Lewis became a government teacher in 1970 at Carlsbad High to begin his political career. It was because of his students that his name ended up on the ballot for Carlsbad City Council. His students continued to push the community to elect him and helped run his campaign until he won.

“I met Buddy around 1970 before I was in politics, but he really showed me the Carlsbad way of business,” current mayor Matt Hall says. “I had many many special times with him.”

Carlsbad’s population went from 15,000 to 105,000 during Lewis’s time in office. Lewis’s ideas and projects brought more residents and publicity to the city.

“It was all about creating a unique community for him,” Hall says. “He wanted our generation and the next generation to come to have the same feel and opportunity for the city.”

Not only was Lewis a humble man, he also made sure to give the community a chance to speak. He always took the citizen’s ideas into view and received a second and third opinion on his own ideas.

“He always made sure the citizens had a voice,” Hall says. “It was never about himself. He always put others first and looked for the community perspective.”

His growth management project added many current hotspots in Carlsbad. During his time in office, the Dove library opened along with LEGOLAND, the Four Seasons, the Flower Fields and many schools and residential areas. His goal was to grow the city slowly to allow for open space and financial stability.

“He was never in a hurry to build the city,” Hall says.

Lewis knew how to think ahead, greatly preparing Carlsbad for the current drought. His project for the Poseidon Resources desalination plant on south Agua Hedionda Lagoon is still under construction and is projected to open in early 2016. This will ultimately provide the city with a more financially stable way of providing drinking water.

“He touched so many people in his lifetime,” Hall says. “His spirit will remain with Carlsbad forever.”