Wil­lis re-elected in Queen­stown

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Front Page - By KRIS­TIAN JAIME Kjaime@Ch­es­pub.com

QUEEN­STOWN — In­cum­bent Queen­stown Com­mis­sioner Tom Wil­lis won his re­elec­tion bid against writein chal­lenger Paul Cain on Mon­day, Nov. 5, in a 52 to 48 vic­tory with three votes deemed in­valid.

Wil­lis will serve a three­year term with fel­low Town Com­mis­sion­ers Ho­gie Schus­ter and Al­ton Hardee Jr. Ac­cord­ing to Wil­lis this is also an op­por­tu­nity to con­tinue the numer­ous projects fac­ing the town.

“We’ve started some pro­grams and an­nexed land, and I would like to see how far we can go in the next three years with that,” said Wil­lis. “Queen­stown needs smart growth. You don’t want to start build­ing things for tax pur­poses. With com­mer­cial growth, it’s a win for the town be­cause we give them pub­lic util­i­ties and they give us tax money.”

Wil­lis ad­mit­ted he ex­pected a closely con­tested elec­tion, but not the four-vote mar­gin that ul­ti­mately gave him the vic­tory. This will be Wil­lis’ third con­sec­u­tive term as town com­mis­sioner start­ing with his suc­cess­ful elec­tion in 2012 and his fourth over­all as he also served from 1995 to 1998.

He was quick to note the close to­tal was a re­minder that town com­mis­sion­ers need to keenly be aware of is­sues faced by con­stituents. He urged the pub­lic to at­tend the reg­u­lar meet­ings by com­mis­sion­ers to share their con­cerns with their elected of­fi­cials.

“My phi­los­o­phy about cam­paign­ing hasn’t changed. I just con­cerned my­self with what­ever needed to be done like roads, town growth, the wa­ter tower or the waste wa­ter plant or what­ever else it was. I didn’t re­ally spend much time cam­paign­ing be­cause I was al­ways avail­able to (con­stituents),” Wil­lis said.

Wil­lis stressed the im­por­tance of ap­proach­ing is­sues wisely and with the proper con­text. Specif­i­cally in mat­ters with le­gal im­pli­ca­tions, town com­mis­sion­ers must com­ply with the course of ac­tion dic­tated town at­tor­ney Brynja Booth. Fail­ure to do so, ac­cord­ing to Wil­lis, re­sults in set­ting a prece­dent that puts the town at a dis­ad­van­tage in fu­ture deal­ing.

Wil­lis con­grat­u­lated Cain for a strong cam­paign and said he looked for­ward to ad­dress­ing any con­cerns pre­sented to him or the rest of the com­mis­sion­ers.

For his part, Cain said he was sur­prised by the close elec­tion, but he took that as a sign the pub­lic wanted a change from the usual rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

“Such a close elec­tion just shows there’s many peo­ple that are up­set with what com­mis­sion­ers are do­ing,” said Cain. “There are many peo­ple un­happy with neigh­bors, high wa­ter bills, taxes and dif­fer­ent things the town has go­ing on. For me to be so suc­cess­ful af­ter just 10 days that I put my­self on the bal­lot is im­pres­sive.”

Cain ex­plained the groundswell of sup­port for his can­di­dacy came partly from those seek­ing a more proac­tive town com­mis­sioner, es­pe­cially in area of code en­force­ment and main­tain­ing the over­all charm of the town.

While Cain’s own im­pe­tus to run for of­fice started with that as his fo­cus, it was not long be­fore other res­i­dents spoke of their is­sues with the cur­rent com­mis­sion­ers.

“Peo­ple were up­set about com­mis­sion­ers not do­ing things, and then I found other rea­sons why peo­ple wanted an­other can­di­date as I went house to house,” Cain said.

Cain said he will con­tinue to at­tend the town com­mis­sion meet­ings to spot­light is­sues around the com­mu­nity and has not ruled out an­other cam­paign for a seat as a com­mis­sioner next year.



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