With seven months still to go before the election, former Hesperia planning commissioner Russ Blewett has raised more than $60,000 for his bid for a city council seat.

"That's what you've got to do, you know?" Blewett said Thursday, the day after a fund-raiser at the Best Western Green Tree Inn in Victorville that he estimates brought in more than $25,000. "I have a lot of support in the community, and a lot of friends that I've developed over the years."

Although he has never held elected office in Hesperia, Blewett is not new to politics, having spent eight years on the city council in Baldwin Park City. In 1971, he was the youngest mayor in the United States at the tender age of 27. He served as a Hesperia planning commissioner for two years, and currently serves as the 1st District planning commissioner.

"I have as much fire in my stomach now as I did when I was 25, I just don't move around as well," he laughed. "I just hope I can add to this community, and I think that I can."

He has also served as the president of the Baldy View chapter of the Building Industry Association, and owns a development company, R.E. Blewett Companies, and a real estate brokerage, Inland Empire West. He is also the father of Lori Nielson, the spokeswoman for the attempted recall of three Hesperia Unified School District board members.

"There's a lot of people really hurting right now, and for them to make that kind of commitment to me is very humbling."

And he's had his impact on city politics before, serving as a campaign advisor to former mayor Dennis Nowicki. This year, he will be able to take a second crack at the man who dethroned Nowicki, Mayor Mike Leonard.

"I believe that [Leonard] will not be reelected, so there's a chance for change on the council," Blewett said. "There's no secret that I have no use for [Rita and Al Vogler, Leonard's political allies]. ... I think they're totally counterproductive and among the poorest quality leaders that I've ever seen."

Nowicki had been aggressively pro-business -- Leonard and the Voglers had accused him of pandering to developers -- and Blewett is adopting a similar stance.

"Basically, I'm going to get this city moving again," he said. "Hesperia had a decrease in sales tax revenue, the only city in the Victor Valley to do so. And I can turn that around. I've done it before, and I'll do it again."

Increasing sales tax revenue doesn't mean an increase in tax rates, he said, but rather attracting more businesses to the city, by fast-tracking environmental reviews similar to how Apple Valley has built up the Apple Valley Road/Bear Valley Road retail hub.

"We need revenue. Our city's problems center around money, basically around sales tax and the shortage of sales tax revenue," he said.

Hesperia, which has approximately 80 percent of Victorville's population has one-fifth of its sales tax revenue, Blewett said.

"It shouldn't be that way. The population difference isn't that great."

And come November, voters will decide whether Blewett is the one to solve the city's woes.

"I believe in getting the job done. If you don't get it done, you get someone who gets it done."

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.