The primary purpose of a ward city councilman is to represent the people of his ward. While he also considers city-wide issues, he must never lose sight of the fact that he was put into office by the people of that ward and to that constituency he must answer.
It means being accessible to the people. It means being visible in the ward and knowing the issues facing the ward inside and out. Most of all, it means being an advocate for that ward.
Tom Vukovic is someone who takes this role to heart. Time and time again the voters of the 4th Ward put him back in office. That's because they trust him to put their needs first. They feel he's reachable and he listens. Those are traits of a ward city councilman who knows what it means to serve his constituency. Anyone who serves on council for long has his critics, and Vukovic is no exception. But we endorse Vukovic for his passion in representing his ward. We also think the perception that he wants to stand in the way of progress is inaccurate. The questions he raises are often valid concerns, and while some may be annoyed by the way he gets his arms around an issue, we like the fact that he bothers to try.
In his first term as the 2nd Ward councilman, Randy Wilson has learned much about the workings of city government and has been involved in multiple city projects that have had a direct impact on his ward. The Front Street upgrade and the move of the municipal court to the former OBES building are two major moves forward that most see as positives for the city and the 2nd Ward. Wilson has shown he isn't afraid to get involved and likes to have a voice on the issues. His opponent has a long history of service to the city and that's a positive, but we also think Wilson has earned the right to continue as the 2nd Ward councilman. He has worked well with others on council and has kept an eye on the needs of his ward.
Representing the 1st Ward is David White. When asked about his contributions to council in his first term, he leaned toward bigger-picture projects like the municipal court and the city's move to let the county handle residential permitting. But we see him looking to keep his ward in the city's overall plans as well, such as his effort to make sure the River Trail extends well into his area of the city. In his first term, White has shown himself to be informed on the issues and interested in seeing how progress elsewhere in the city can tie into his ward specifically. We urge him to identify a handful of real issues facing his ward that he can get behind and bring to council. With his cooperative spirit, he can do well to serve as a liaison between his ward and council while still having a hand in the bigger city-wide issues as well.
On Nov. 3, vote Vukovic, Wilson and White for 4th, 2nd and 1st Ward respectively.