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Pacific voters will decide between Kave or council appointee for No. 4 seat
Perhaps more than any other of the four Pacific City Council seats being contested in the Nov. 5 general election, the race for Position No. 4 presents voters with a conundrum.
On paper, the race, which pits newcomer Vic Kave against Leanne Guier, a former councilperson now serving as Pacific's mayor, seems simple.
Guier, whom the City Council appointed mayor after the recalling of former Mayor Cy Sun, gave up her seat to Katie Garberding, who was appointed to fill the seat until Dec. 31.
But because the City Council appointed Guier to the City's top executive post after the deadline had passed for candidates to withdraw from the election, she couldn't remove her name from the ballot.
Guier and Kave were the top-two vote getters in the primary, edging out Dave Stookey and moving on to the general ballot.
Despite the presence of her name on the ballot, Guier insists, she has no intention to resign as mayor should she win the seat. That would leave the position open for an appointee to be selected by the city council.
"A vote for me is a vote for the council to appoint," Guier said. "If you don't know Vic, you still have a choice to let council appoint someone to that seat. I think it's important to have a choice."
A 20-year resident of the City of Pacific, Kave, 45, said he has always known that he would step up and run for office one day.
"It's something I've been interested in doing for a few years," Kave said. "I had been waiting for my kids to grow up before I committed to it, but when I looked at what the city was going through, and what I could bring, I realized they could use my talent and skills now."
Kave, a former U.S. Army Airborne Ranger and a combat veteran, and today a firefighter with the Valley Regional Fire Authority, said it was Pacific's small-town atmosphere that first attracted him.
"I'm originally from West Virginia," he said. "I met a woman from Auburn and wanted to settle down. I wanted to buy a house before I got married and get on with living the American dream. Pacific was a nice, small town, and it had the small-town atmosphere that I'm used to. It seemed like a nice little community — no hustle and bustle, but still close enough to the big cities."
Initially content to raise his family, including two teenage sons who attend Auburn Riverside, Kave – who has a bachelor's degree in business and associates degrees in fire command and administration, technology and arts and science – said he realized during the city's tumultuous years under the Sun administration that he had something to offer residents of the city.
"You have to realize that you're there for the people; they expect you to do what's good for them, not what's good for you," Kave said. "And I can do that because I don't have a personal agenda. I think I have a sense of genuineness that most people don't. I connect with people. I have a knack for being able to put myself in their shoes. And, for lack of a better term, I have a strong sense of what is right."
Among his strong points, Kave said, is his fiscal experience. That includes not only his time in the Army but also his work with the VRFA, whose dive team he said he has helped to revive.
"Our dive team was out of service because they didn't meet the standards," he said. "We put plans into place, and now they've been recognized as one of the best. In the military, I managed a multi-million dollar arms room, managing ammunition and making sure every single round was accounted for," Kave added. "I'm not a stranger to accountability and fiscal responsibility."
All of which, he said, would be useful in helping to set the city's budget straight.
"I think the biggest thing is getting a handle on their budget," Kave said. "I think there is a confusion about what's been spent and what it's been spent on. We need to try and get where the budget is recognizable so everybody can see what is being spent where."
Kave added that maintaining the city's small town feel is also a priority for him.
"It still has those elements. Maybe a little has been lost, but that may just be the way our society is going," Kave said. "I don't know if you can fix that politically, but maybe we need to embrace those values at the political level. We've become too divisive, too closed off and shut down. Nobody talks to their neighbors anymore; they might not even know them.
"I have committed my life to public service and have proven leadership experiences in building successful teams that are examples to be followed," Kave wrote in his voter's pamphlet statement. "As a council member, I promise to develop plans that make our city an example to be followed rather than a city to be ridiculed. Let's get back to all that is good about being Pacific."