City Councilor Laura Reid saw the opportunity to run for the Keizer City Council four years ago as an pathway to become more involved. But, even with decades of experience as a high school teacher, there was a steep learning curve.
“You learn very quickly that the city’s business is basically all the services nobody else can make money doing,” Reid said. “But we work well as a team because we bring a variety of professional experiences to the problems.”
Reid is facing a challenger in Mike DeBlasi as she runs for re-election to Position 1 on the council in November.
One of the critiques Reid had of the council going into the job was the appearance that the council voted unanimously on most issues. While that hasn’t changed much in four years, Reid has a different perspective on it now.
“By the time we get to a vote, we’ve had very robust conversations and gotten a clear idea of the different perspectives,” Reid said.
Reid’s time on the council has been anything but boring. In four years, she played a role in the city implementing fees for parks and police services, seen the city navigate the legal system over safety concerns at a Polk County shooting range, taken part in wide-ranging discussions about city growth and been part of the city’s response to COVID-19 and the hacking of city computers.
“Being involved in all those conversations was really enlightening regarding how things get done, and I love that people show up to council meetings when they have an issue,” Reid said.
Recently, some residents have renewed calls for the council to adopt an inclusivity resolution. Reid said the council will hold a work session Monday, Sept. 14, to talk about ways the city can continue to address inclusivity in a systemic way.
“I was part of a virtual National League of Cities Conference where I got to hear about some of the ways others cities are responding to these issues and putting in place practical solutions. I will be bringing some of that to the discussion,” Reid said. “There are things we can do to foster a more equitable and inclusive environment.”
Reid pointed to action the city council took on Measure 105 in 2018 as one way the council has responded to equity issues. In that instance, the council approved a resolution stating it stood against the provisions of Measure 105, which would have repealed statewide prohibitions against local law enforcement officers investigating and arresting people solely suspected of being in the United States illegally. Many who spoke during a meeting on the issue wanted a more full-throated resolution urging residents to vote against the measure, the council favored the compromise solution. Measure 105 failed in a landslide a few weeks later.
Reid was a council liaison to some of the groups that hosted conversations about growth in Keizer and said concrete answers about how Keizer should grow remain elusive even as the city collects more and more information about the impacts it could have.
“Ultimately, we need to be flexible because different people want different things, different developers are going to be interested in different types of projects. Having affordable housing for everyone has to be one of the priorities though,” she said. “One of the practical solutions we arrived at was creating the space for new types of development along River Road North and Cherry Avenue.”
Reid said her position as a teacher in the community informs much of how she views Keizer and student experience is at the forefront of her mind when considering city issues.
“I get to know the kids and, especially as an English teacher, I get to see more of that than perhaps other kinds of teachers because they write about it. I get to see what's going on in their minds and what's going on in their lives a little more clearly,” Reid said.
Find out more about the candidate at her website, laurareidforkeizer.com.