By CRAIG MURPHY and LYNDON A. ZAITZ
Of the Keizertimes
This time, the door is open and Cathy Clark is walking through.
Two years ago, the Keizer City Councilor filed to run for mayor, a seat held by Lore Christopher since 2000.
However, Christopher ran and won her sixth term. Clark didn’t run, being content to maintain her spot on the council. At the time, Christopher said it would her last campaign.
At last weekend’s First Citizen Awards Banquet, Christopher announced she is indeed not running for re-election (see related story).
On Tuesday, Clark told the Keizertimes she is indeed running for mayor this time around, making her the first person to formally declare so for the 2014 election.
“I see opportunity for Keizer,” Clark said when asked why she wants to be mayor. “Lore has done a fantastic job. She has helped grow our economy and grow our vision. I want to work with businesses and residents to see the vision come to fruition. How can we use our strategic resources to make Keizer the city it should be?”
Clark emphasized the need to elicit feedback from Keizer citizens.
“We need to listen to the people,” she said. “Where are we now and where are we going? Also, it takes time and organization to run for public office. I want to help other candidates who seek city council seats.”
Clark, who ran unopposed in both of her council races, recalls learning the ropes from a former councilor eight years ago.
“I went out early, shadowing Jacque Moir, going to meetings and conferences,” Clark said.
For Clark, being mayor would be the logical next step.
“Being on council has been a life changing experience for me,” she said. “I hope that what I have been able to bring has benefited others. It’s been an amazing experience to meet people throughout our community and to feel so strongly about the community and other people.”
If elected, Clark said citizens would be able to tell her apart from Christopher.
“We have different approaches to things, we have different passions,” Clark said. “We have different ways of interacting with people. She has built a legacy and a platform for Keizer to have grown up, to have matured, to take a great deal of pride in itself. We’ve gone from not being Salem to being Keizer.”
For her part, Christopher has not decided yet who she will endorse to replace her.
“Let’s see who is running first,” Christopher said. “I’m not going to stand on the sideline. I will give my endorsement to someone who is running.”
Clark points to her experience and honesty as main selling points.
“I have direct experience in city government and the city budget. I’ve been a member of the budget committee since 2001. I know our city operations. I work well with Salem and surrounding communities and represent Keizer on a regional transportation commission.
“I want open, honest discussions with clear data,” Clark added. “People know who I am. I’ve lived in Keizer for over 25 years. People know my commitment. I’ll be straight with the people.”
Clark also noted her enthusiasm.
“When I believe in something, I’m a shameless promoter,” she said. “I believe in what we have as a community; I believe in the folks who live here and I believe in our future.”