Soraida Cross now has the time to do what she loves: serve her community and others.
The northwest Keizer resident is running for Keizer City Council, Position 4 in the November general election. Though she is unopposed in her campaign, she said she is running as if she had opposition.
A 30-year resident of Keizer, Soraida and husband, Mark, raised their four children, who all live in Oregon.
Cross has been involved in the Keizer community for years. She is a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). She is on the board of the Salem YMCA and serves on its executive committee. She is involved with the hospitality program at the Career Technical Education Center (CTEC) and Travel Salem.
Her professional career has been in the hospitality industry, serving as general manager of the Phoenix Inn in south Salem. While that site is undergoing renovation, Cross will manage Bentley’s Grill in downtown Salem. Among her skills is event coordination.
Keizer City Councilor Shaney Starr recruited Cross for the race. “I watched Shaney Starr’s path to the council,” she said. The theme of last year’s YMCA fund raiser was “The Time is Now,” which explains Crosses’ decision to ruj.
“My husband said, ‘You are way too busy as it is now,’” said Cross. “I told him I could shift some things around to make time.” She made the decision to run for council in July.
Anthony Rosilez is still on ballot for the same council seat, but he dropped out and is not actively campaigning.
Cross has done her homework about being a city councilor. She has watched council meetings on Keizer TV and spoken with those in the community who serve or have served as councilors.
If she takes the council seat in January, Cross wants to focus on public safety. “I think that our residents, our community, our businesses deserve to be safe and feel safe.” She said it is important to listen to people who don’t feel safe.
Another issue that will get her attention is local infrastructure. ”I want to be able to sustain our sidewalks, our streets, and that we have a long-term plan to maintain and improve what we already have.”
Local business is important to Cross, as well. “We should listen to their challenges, and do what we can, as a community, to help them, and help get jobs in town,” she said.
“I believe we have this wonderful city, with this great history we need to pass onto the next generation,” said Cross. “Make sure we are hearing people, knowing we can cooperate and collaborate.” She wants to see more community involvement and empowerment.
“I want the council to look like the community,” said Cross. “We all come from different places, with different views. I want to bridge that gap. It’s our city.” She thinks it will take one person at a time. She wants to connect with people and families where the are: at a park or on a soccer field. Being attainable and available to people is important to her.
Cross said that she and her husband, Mark, don’t agree on a lot of stuff, but at the end of the day, they can be respectful. “How boring if we all thought alike,” she said.
On the issue of homelessness, Cross said her passion comes from serving her community. Mental health is a big component (of homelessness), but she wants to know where the money to address that issue is coming from? “If there is one person sleeping on the street, or one family going hungry, it’s a problem,” she said.
For Cross there is no further political rung than Keizer City Council. She has no political ambitions. “I’m very dedicated to my community. My path is serving my community. My passion is local. If I can inspire someone, that’s enough.”