Editorial: Oliver for City Council

Gerry Oliver offers a fresh face, a new constituency and some off-the-shelf optimism, all of which combines to make him the best choice for Oak Harbor City Council in the Nov. 3 election.

This is taking nothing away form Scott Dudley, his challenger, who is a fine candidate in his own right. Dudley is well grounded in civic politics, active in community affairs and thoughtful on the issues.

But Oliver promises to bring more to city government. He’s a businessman, but he’s also very active in youth activities. In fact, helping the city do more for youth is his top priority. That was also the goal of the outgoing Eric Gerber, whose resignation created the open seat on the council. Gerber call tell Oliver how hard it is to get anything done as a single voice on the seven-member council, and urge him to work well with others as the best way to achieve his goals.

Oliver knows how to make himself clear and isn’t afraid to speak his mind, whether you agree with him or not. Dudley tends to mince his words and avoids giving his personal opinion on issues, while Oliver will let you have it with both barrels. His forthright honesty is refreshing in a political candidate.

At age 32, Oliver is still close to the youth of the community, a strength made more obvious by his part-time job as color commentator for football games on the high school TV station. He has a network of friends that normally isn’t much interested in city politics. If anyone can do something for youth, it’s Oliver. The fact he’s African American doesn’t hurt, either. He can make Oak Harbor’s often-overlooked minority community feel more a part of the city, and get them more directly involved in making it a better place to live.

The City Council already has six sober, responsible members, all doing a good job. Oliver can bring a fresh approach, some candid statements, and personal enthusiasm to liven up the proceedings and get the ball rolling toward better youth services. A “yes” voter for Oliver would make Oak Harbor a better, more interesting place to live. We recommend him for City Council, Position 5.

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