Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Garcia eyes Ketchum council seat

Longtime resident pulled out of mayoral race


By ERIC AVISSAR
Express Staff Writer

Mickey Garcia

    After initially declaring his candidacy for mayor of Ketchum, resident Mickey Garcia has announced he will run for Ketchum City Council.
    Garcia said he decided to run for council after he heard that Councilwoman Nina Jonas decided to vacate her seat on the council to run for mayor. Garcia said he wanted to make sure Jonas gets a “straight shot” at defeating incumbent Mayor Randy Hall.
    “The best thing the public can do is get rid of the old people who have been there forever, like Randy Hall and Baird Gourlay,” Garcia said.
    Gourlay has announced he will seek his fourth term on the City Council.
    Garcia is making his 10th consecutive run for public office, having previously run for mayor, county commissioner and city councilman. Having started running for public office in Ketchum in 2001, Garcia said he’s received a total of about 8,000 votes over the years.
    “I don’t take losing personally because I’m a realist and I know how democracy works,” Garcia said.
    After voluntarily serving the U.S. military in the Vietnam War, Garcia worked as a political intern under former California Gov. Ronald Reagan. Garcia is a retired forester, after graduating from the University of Montana with a degree in forestry.
    If elected, Garcia said he will make his first order of business attempting to pass an ordinance that makes the mayor earn the same amount of money as members of the City Council. Currently, the mayor earns $36,720 per year, while council members make $20,400 annually. Garcia said he believes the current mayor’s salary is a “rip-off” to taxpayers.
    Garcia said he has also hopes to expand affordable-housing opportunities in Ketchum. He said he has always been an advocate for affordable housing over the years, and believes Ketchum must be willing to change and adapt to attract younger residents to the area.
    For more than a decade, Garcia has attended the majority of meetings of the Ketchum City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission. He said he is running because he is qualified from his experience and leadership, and is “annoyed with the games politicians play once they’re elected.”
    He said, “The politicians get away with what they do because the public is too busy with their own lives and they do not have a lengthy memory that can say, ‘This politician is a bad apple.’”
    The Ketchum city election is Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Eric Avissar: eavissar@mtexpress.com




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