Lisbon mayor details adventures from his world travels, including kidnapping in Venezuela

Local News

After over two decades living in different parts of the world and a very scary experience, Pete Wilson decided to move back to the town where he was born and was elected mayor

LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – Last November, the Village of Lisbon elected Pete Wilson as its new mayor. Even though he was born there in the ’50s, Wilson spent most of his life in different parts of the world.

Wilson moved from city to city. When he was 2 years old, his family moved to Salem and then to North Canton when he was 15.

After high school, he went to Walsh University, then Georgetown, where he studied political science.

“I wanted to be a diplomat, and then I met too many diplomats and realized I couldn’t do it,” Wilson said.

He got a master’s degree at the University of London, studying communism and earning a degree in East European Political Systems.

After that, he was off to study in the country of Poland.

“I went there, had a really interesting time, learned a bit of the language, culture and I thought, ‘I definitely want to come back.'”

Later on, Wilson went to become a freelance journalist. He covered issues going on within the country during the Cold War.

Wilson then moved to Cincinnati, Brazil and Venezuela in 1992, where he spent the next 25 years.

WATCH: Complete interview with Lisbon Mayor Pete Wilson on his world travels

Two months after he got to Venezuela, there was a coup d’état.

“I heard these explosions outside my apartment building.”

He was hired by Bloomberg News, covering multiple coups, mudslides and bank collapses.

“I think the news up here is crazy sometimes. Down there, it was even worse.”

In 2015, Wilson was kidnapped on his way home.

“There was four people in the road, all with guns pointing at me.”

After the kidnappers realized he wasn’t the person they were looking for, they let him go.

That’s when Wilson thought it was time to move back home.

“You have shotguns pointed right at your temples, it does give you a different perspective on life.”

He moved back to Lisbon in 2016 and became a village councilman, then was elected mayor.

“I haven’t really lived in the states for more than two decades. I thought, ‘If I’m coming back, it has to be Lisbon.'”

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