Davidson, Martin hope to serve 8th DistrictA former candidate for mayor and a media veteran are running for a chance to represent neighborhoods east,
By: Shelley Nelson, The Daily Telegram
A former candidate for mayor and a media veteran are running for a chance to represent neighborhoods east, north and south of the Government Center in an area that zigzags from Cypress to Hammond avenues and Harrison to Broadway streets.
In the 8th Douglas County Board district, Gil Davidson, a union chief for Superior’s public works union, is challenging Lew Martin, who has served the district on and off for about 30 years.
“I think any place, any candidate, voters should have a choice,” Davidson said of his decision to run for office. But, it isn’t merely giving voters a choice that he has in mind.
“I think I’m experienced in government affairs and government work,” he said “I’ve been involved with the city government here for six or seven years now. I’ve also been involved with unions. That’s not government work, but it’s still political. You’re still helping people out and I like helping people out. I think I’m good at it because I’ve been doing it for a long time.”
Martin, too, has used his position on the county board to advocate for the poor as a member of Northwest Community Services Agency and for seniors through the Aging Resource Center of Douglas County.
“I think as a supervisor, you should be cognizant of the things that are going on,” Martin said. From the struggles of the national economy to the decision to close the General Mills taco plant in Poplar, he said the economy is ailing.
“The economy’s going to continue to be an issue, particularly for the county which continues to get new mandates from the state with no means to pay for them,” Martin said. “The state is in the hole … which is going to reflect on Douglas County. We’re going to have to economize as much as we can. We’ll have to watch any new requests we get for money,”
Davidson agrees taxes remain a big problem in the city and Douglas County.
“Lowering taxes would be nice,” Davidson said. “I don’t think that’s going to happen with the way the economy is nowadays, but at least we can keep them from going up.”
He said the county needs to increase efficiency and better use available resources.
“Government grants and government subsidies that are out there — if we don’t put in for them, some other city is going to put in and get them,” Davidson said. “It’s still our money. It’s our tax money. Let’s get it up here and let’s put it to use.”
Davidson said county board supervisors in the city have a unique role in that they not only represent their city district, but the entire county as well.
“I think the issues in District 8 are the same as any other district in the city here,” he said. “Of course, the ones out in the county are going to be a little different than the ones in town here. I’m going to work with all the supervisors — all 27 of them — to help get their projects done and their plans done, as well as I hope they’ll help me get mine done. That’s one thing we have to do is work together and we can get it handled.”
Gearing up for a much smaller board — planned for cuts in 2011, following the U.S. Census — is a concern for Martin.
“This is an unusual time because the county board is going to be cut down … from 28 to 16 or 17,” he said. “So during the next two years, we’ve got to eliminate some committees. We have to reduce some committees, and we have to make plans for a tremendous cut in the size of the county board.”
Contact Shelley Nelson at email@example.com or (715) 395-5022.