As the election date nears, I would like to thank everyone that has supported and helped with my campaign. I would also like to urge all citizens to vote on this coming Tuesday. Public participation on the local level is where the community can have a definite impact.

Over the last several months, I had the opportunity to discuss local issues with several members of the community. For those that I met, they know that I am a bit of a talker and like my stories. I hope those stories help me relate as a person, citizen — not a politician. Hopefully, this article reaches those that I didn't meet in person and also shows “the man” behind the bureaucracy.

Taxes are always a concern on any level and are an inevitable part of our democracy. I believe in fiscal responsibility. Maintaining a working budget without increasing the tax burden on its citizens must always be a priority. I grew up in an “oilfield” household. There has always been the good years and the bad years. During a bad year, my dad arrived home from work to find my mom distraught. She explained that she needed new clothes for work but wasn't sure they could afford it. He handed her a check and said, “We'll always find a way for the things we need.” I use that same logic with my personal finances, and I think it can be applied and relevant to our local budget. Do we “need” it or “want” it. The community can always find a way for the needs, but we can't always sacrifice for the wants. “Wants” can happen, but they need to be carefully budgeted, prepared and saved for.

Affordable housing and land prices have been a complicated topic of our community for awhile. When I was looking for my home, I made the, “I should be able to get more for my money, they want how much for that, etc., statements.” The property owners have a right to do what they want with their own property. So, what can we do? There are systems, although not perfect, to aid in the purchase of property. We can do a better job of educating the community on financing options, programs, grants and build from there.

The want for affordable housing leads to my next point, economic growth but more specifically job growth. There needs to be more opportunities available to retain local graduates, attract families from the rural areas, etc. Better paying jobs would also help in affording a home. Hays, in my opinion, is a mostly working-class community. We are technicians, laborers, teachers, nurses, retailers, etc. Everyday there are more and more families of our community that aren't “living” here; they are “surviving” here.

Hays is a wonderful community, but it does have its hurdles. It is naive to think that myself or any other person can solve its problems. The solutions will come from the community. We need a commissioner that will listen to the community and not let future opportunities slip away. I will not be intimidated by organizations or single individuals with special interests and agendas. Vote for me, and I'll represent the citizens of Hays.

John Mayers,

candidate for Hays City Commission