Public hears from candidates and ask questions at forum
The eight candidates running for elected city positions had their chance to answer questions from the public and prove they are the best man or woman for the job on Monday evening during the Candidate Forum held inside the Bristlecone Convention Center.
Each candidate was given up to 10 minutes to give a presentation to those that attended the free forum followed by a period for questions.
The most popular question was where the candidates stood on the issue of the disincorporation of the City of Ely. Every candidate said they were opposed to SB238, the bill making the rounds in the state legislature to disincorporate.
“I wouldn’t be running for a city office if I was for it,” Pat Robison, a candidate for seat 3 on the city council said.
“I consider it to be the most important issue the city faces,” incumbent City Councilman Marty Westland said.
Issues such as the condition of the city’s infrastructure and need to bring new businesses into town also were a recurring theme in the candidates speeches.
Mike O’Brien said the city should look out of state for businesses to bring in and wanted to look at ways other small communities have been successful in doing so.
“We need to help the community and to do that requires changing how we do things a little to keep up,” O’Brien said.
His opponent for the fourth
seat on the council Jolene Gardner said that her most important issue was infrastructure, specifically pointing to the need to improve the condition of the city’s roads.
Gardner also criticized the current city council’s priorities saying that there has been “too much focus on the railroad” and not enough done to bring in new businesses.
Kurt Carson also felt the current council could be improved.
“The city can be run better,” Carson said during his speech, adding that he was “tired of personal vendettas” and “backdoor politics.”
Incumbent Mayor Melody Van Camp took a different approach and commended the five council members she works with. Van Camp said that she is proud of the things she has accomplished in her 14 months as mayor and that she could “leave with her head held high knowing she made the city a better place” than when she first took office were she not to be reelected.
Her opponent Don Purinton highlighted his investment in the Central Theater in town as one of the ways he has made the community a better place to live. Purinton also brought up his long record of volunteering at the Northern Nevada Railroad as another example of his dedication to the betterment of the City of Ely.
City residents will get to make their choice next month in the general election on June 2. Voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. inside the Bristlecone Convention Center.