Eddie Cook, Victor Petersen, and Jordan Ray have been on the campaign trail for a few weeks now, meeting new people, gathering endorsements, and getting out their messages. They share a commitment to conservative principles: Limited Government, Low Taxes, Free Markets, and Personal Responsibility. They speak of fiduciary responsibility and accountability. The speak of encouraging economic development.
These three citizen candidates are friendly, likable people. However, they are also unique with different experiences, skills, and ways of solving problems. It is this vibrant mix of talent that will enhance and refresh a Council that has grown stale. Three members of the current Council: Linda Abbott, Dave Crozier, and Les Presmyk have been on the Council far too long. This is one of the reasons they didn’t question overspending by at least $8.6 million for a couple of pieces of land called “Zinke.”
The Town Council equivalent in private industry is a Board of Directors. The board answers to its shareholders. The employees of the corporation answer to the Board. Likewise, the Town Council answers to the Gilbert taxpayers. The employees of the Town answer to the Town Council. That is the perspective that the Council should always maintain.
Eddie Cook is a technology manager for NetApp, whose expertise is in information technology. Actually, Victor and Jordan also share similar, though different, technology expertise. The Town desperately needs technological skills, because it lags behind private industry by about 15 years. Eddie routinely helps Fortune 100 companies improve their productivity. He has spent long hours digging into the Town’s budget to understand it. He understands it better than the incumbents, who have had years of opportunity, but never got past the basics. Eddie has also spent a lot of time getting to know the various Town departments, to gain an understanding of how they operate. Eddie helped defeat a recent sales tax increase called Prop 406.
Victor’s business is technology, systems efficiency, and budgets within the home-building business. However, Victor’s understanding of the U.S. Constitution, the Arizona Constitution, and Gilbert’s Municipal Code provides him with a unique perspective. He is well known for being thorough and in looking at problems from both a business and Constitutional perspective. He knows land values, because that has been his business for years. That Eddie Farnsworth, Arizona House of Representatives, and Constitutional expert, endorses Victor Petersen speaks volumes about Victor’s understanding of the proper role of government. Victor also helped defeat the sales tax increase Prop 406.
Jordan Ray is an attorney who is also vice president of InData, a Gilbert-based legal technology company. Early in his career, he worked for Bank of America in the fraud detection area. If you have followed Gilbert politics for very long you know that this man will bring an important element of accountability to the Town Council. He has spoken of the need for a line by line analysis of the budget, and a desire to draw businesses into Gilbert, as well as privatizing services as much as possible. He was against Prop 406.
These citizen candidates are not career politicians. They come from the local community with a new energy and desire to apply their private industry skills to making government more efficient and cost-effective, and to build on the tradition of Gilbert as a great place to live and work by taking it to the next step.