Saturday, June 21, 2008

n Oakley incumbents seeking re-election map out ideas to turn around financial challenges

OAKLEY — Economic development is a top priority for all three incumbents running for re-election to the Oakley City Council this November.

Original councilmembers Pat Anderson and Brad Nix will seek third terms, and Kevin Romick will campaign for a second term. All identify economic development as the city's ongoing challenge in these tough financial times.

"We need to continue to build our economic structure," said Anderson, a 57-year-old Oakley teacher. "I want to look out for the next 10 years. The biggest issue for everyone is this economy."

One of the issues that Nix, 51, would like to continue focusing on in another term is bringing more retail businesses and sales tax revenue to the city. He said Oakley's late incorporation makes this a challenge but it can be accomplished.

"We are kind of hostage to the general economic climate of the country," said Nix, the deputy district attorney in Stanislaus County. "Things have slowed a lot for us. In the next few years, there will be a rebound that we can take advantage of."

Romick, 52, wants to create more jobs in Oakley to narrow the housing and employment gap that affects all of East County. Continuing to invest in downtown infrastructure and the tourism generated from the Oakley shoreline and wine-tasting facilities will help the city economically, Romick added.

"As of late, the downturn in the economy has a number of businesses saying 'we are going to wait awhile Advertisementto come to Oakley,'" said Romick, the data center manager at USS-Posco in Pittsburg. "We need to show them we are an attractive community that they should locate in."

Describing herself as a community advocate, Anderson said she is proud of the state of the city. She does not plan to campaign formally until September and said she hopes to let her record speak for itself.

"There have been tough times on the council," Anderson said. "It has been an honor to serve the community. I hope the public will support me."

After having serving on several regional transportation committees, Nix said one of Oakley's challenges is to finish some major roadway projects. Nix was a major advocate for bringing the Laurel Road exit and entrance to the Highway 4 bypass to Oakley.

"I was very proud to bring the Laurel connection into the city," he said.

Hiring more police officers and improving fire services are other priorities, according to Nix. He encouraged constituents to contact him about local issues via the city's Web site,

Romick said he can serve the city well as someone with both council and Planning Commission experience. He added that there is a learning curve involved in being a public official.

"It will be interesting to see how many people will be running. The more you get out there, you learn what the real issues are," Romick said. "Brentwood, Oakley and Antioch all have similar issues. We also need to understand the broader issues outside of our communities."

The official filing period for the Nov. 4 election is July 14 through Aug. 8. If an incumbent doesn't file papers by Aug. 8, the deadline will be extended to Aug. 13 for challengers in the race.

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