Craig Williams (R) – Summit County Council Seat D
Craig Williams (Republican)
Summit County Council Seat D
Question 1: What are your qualifications to run for a seat on the county council and why do you want to serve?
I am a husband, father of six children, and a resident of Summit County. I know how important it is to spend wisely within a strict budget, protect the environment, and provide educational and career opportunities for our kids.
My professional career involves developing effective practices, policies, and standards with a diverse group of large and small power companies, stakeholders, and government officials from all over the Western United States, Canada, and Mexico. I also act as the administrator for one of our largest financial tariffs so I know the value of transparent and strict money management. I represent my organization on several important national energy issues so I’ve learned the importance of working together across a broad spectrum of viewpoints and of taking the time to address issues in a thoughtful, clear, and careful manner.
I’m recognized as a good communicator who seeks input from a variety of people, sees future trends, and listens to all sides before making a decision. I’m running to be your next County Council member because I love living in Summit County. I love the people, cities, mountain surroundings, outdoor activities, and I have the skills to help make it even better.
Question 2: Now that the economy is recovering, are there cuts in staff, projects or services that you would reinstate? Would you recommend lowering taxes? Please be specific.
The reason that so many communities had to cut staff and services during the 2008-2011 economic recession is that they didn’t focus enough effort on increased efficiency and productivity when times were prosperous. The best managed communities in this nation were able to maintain their services precisely because they were extremely well run and had planned for such a rainy day.
The national economy is still very fragile so I would be cautious and suggest that we not continue the rush to reinstate staff, projects, and services. I believe that Summit County should step back, be very careful on what it reinstates, and use this opportunity to prudently evaluate how it can minimize future costs and increase operational efficiency.
Being one of the best managed counties in the nation is the most effective way to lower costs and taxes today and in the future.
Question 3: Are you satisfied with the county’s current council/manager form of government, why or why not and what would make it better?
Summit County’s current form of county government is actually a hybrid between a commissioner and a council/manager form of government because it retains so many elected positions. While Summit County’s structure is not unique, some citizens have questioned its effectiveness when speaking with me. They also point out that the change was supposed to lower costs rather than raise them. They don’t believe this has happened.
There are pros and cons to each form of government, but I DO think it’s time to engage the citizens and local communities in a wholesale review of how effective the change has been, and what can be done to improve it.
Question 4: If you could introduce one specific new policy that would help improve Summit County citizens’ quality of life, what would it be?
I would like to see Summit County, together with citizens, mayors, city councils, and other important stakeholders, update and develop a binding General Plan to manage growth, congestion, economic development, and environmental protection. It does little good to use scarce resources and time to develop a growth-management plan that is detailed but "advisory" in its nature.
I have seen too many places around the United States that I would describe as "paradise lost" because they failed to follow a plan and suffered the consequences. Nobody wants another concrete jungle in Summit County, and every citizen would benefit from clear growth-management plans that are consistently adhered to in the future.
Question 5: Currently there are four council members from West Side of Summit County and only one from the East Side. Do you believe the needs of the citizens on the East Side are different from those on the West Side and are they being addressed?
It’s the duty of the every County Council member to listen to the concerns and attempt to address the needs of ALL their constituents. When a citizen comes to the Council with an issue, they expect to be heard and to be treated fairly. Council members should not be biased toward their individual neighborhoods or cities.
In my discussions with citizens and leaders throughout Summit County I have heard a consistent theme – that the County Council needs to do a better job of meeting the needs of everyone in Summit County. I will work to make that happen.
Question 6: Please differentiate your platform from your opponent’s.
My platform is summarized in our campaign motto "Work Hard, Serve Others." Being an effective council member involves successful collaboration, good communication, being independent, and looking out for everyone in the county.
I want the county to operate efficiently within a strict budget, collaborate more effectively with the cities, citizens, and stakeholders, preserve our environment, and provide better educational and career opportunities for our kids. We can do this through better teamwork, partnerships, and careful planning for the future.
We all want to keep Summit County strong, clean, and vibrant. We all want to avoid the trap of urban sprawl that has destroyed the quality of life in so many communities. Working to make our community a better place requires change, and one the best changes Summit County can make this November is electing Craig Williams to the Summit County Council.
Please visit http://www.CraigforSummit.com to learn more about my campaign and together we can make great things happen.
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Court report: Week of June 22