Spotlight on the Candidate: Ridgecrest City Council
News Review Staff Writer
“My whole life I have been a public servant. It is something I thoroughly enjoy,” said City Council incumbent Ron Carter. “As an elected official, I am always helping people.”
Carter, who is seeking a fifth term, said he has always worked to help people who feel they don’t have a voice in government. “If I can help one citizen every day, then I have had a wonderful day.”
He said that helping people has always been his motivation. Before retirement he was principal at Las Flores Elementary School. “As principal I could influence every student, every teacher, every parent. Serving on the council allows me to do that on a larger scale.”
In response to a question on how Ridgecrest will continue to weather the current fiscal crisis, he said he believes the city is doing much better than most government agencies in the country. “I read every day about cities that have to file for bankruptcy. For us to have a balanced budget every year despite the state taking tens of millions of dollars from us is remarkable.”
Carter said the city managed this feat by working as a team. “Without the sacrifices from our city staff, we would not have been able to maintain services, “And I think our economy is doing well. When I talk to small-business owners they tell me that the economy has not hurt us like it has other communities. I think a lot of that has to do with the vision of this and other councils.”
He said that vision is now paying off with the recent opening of Big Lots, and the impending opening of the Super Walmart. “Having these stores here will help our revenues.”
Carter said he would also like to explore doing a parks district. By putting the cost of maintenance on tax rolls, it would save the city from having to spend money from its general fund.
“We have a safe community,” he said. “This goes back to 16 years ago when I first got on the council.” He said that launching the Youth Advisory Council engaged the youth in the community and thus helped prevent the formation of gangs.
He also noted that he and one of his councilmembers helped bring the school district’s successful career technical education program to the valley. “That was brought here by Chip and myself.” It is now a model program for all the state.
“The vision I have is to continue bringing businesses to the community.”
He responded to criticism that he is seeking another term despite 75 percent of voters saying in June that they want a two-term limit for council members. “We need to have experience on the council. Those of us who have been through the BRAC process once before are already ahead of the game,” said Carter.
“I tell people that I have lived under term limits every time I ran. Every four years I go out and ask the community if they want to rehire me. So far they always have. Now I am asking them to hire me again.”
His priorities for spending will be the Police Department, followed by infrastructure. “If you have some funding leftover then you want to do parks and recreation,” he said.
“Our community has not suffered like most in the United States. I think we have potential. We’ve always been a secret because of national security, but in the last 10 years we’ve been able to promote our community. And because of that we’re going to have more people move here.”
He said he is committed to this community, and wants to be a part of that growth.Story First Published: 2012-10-10