|Appointed Holliday seeks elected seat to Gering’s Ward IV|
|October 16, 2014 Jerry Purvis|
Phillip Holliday, who for years has been active in community and business, is seeking to become a permanent member of the Gering City Council in Ward IV.
Holliday is currently completing the term of incumbent Jill McFarland, who resigned from the council this summer.
“Being involved in the community has always been a passion of mine,” Holliday said. “It all goes back to Mrs. Haas, my Gering High School government teacher. She always emphasized the importance of voting.”
He said now’s a good time for him to become even more active in the community. He’s been on the board of Twin Cities Development and went through the Leadership Scotts Bluff program before serving on that organization’s board. He’s also a member of the Next Young Professionals group and is involved with the Nebraska Truck Association through his business, Gering-based Nebraska Transport Company.
Lots of opinions have been raised earlier this year over a controversial meatpacking plant proposal. But Holliday said he’s hearing more concerns from his neighbors about the city’s infrastructure. “Some of the roads are pretty beat up and in need of repair. And some of the water mains are close to a hundred years old.”
Another common concern he hears is the lack of amenities in Gering. “People are asking when we’ll have something to do here in Gering,” he said. “They always have to go across the river for restaurants or movies or shopping. People want more businesses and services in Gering.”
Numerous concerns have also been voiced during this campaign season over the lack of government transparency, partially generated by the meatpacking proposal that caught even some council members by surprise.
“A lot of people feel that Gering is too secretive about the things they do,” Holliday said. “I think the council has made strides toward getting more information out to the public; but I think we still have a long way to go.”
As for the issue of the meatpacking plant proposal, Holliday said it probably isn’t a good idea to pursue, given all the bad press and community opposition it’s generated so far.
“I want to bring some leadership and vision to the council,” he said. “We have vision on the council, but maybe it’s a lack of consistent, long-term vision. We need to identify what we want to be as a city and take steps to get there.”
He added a lot of the vision for the future should come from members of the community. “I want to get the citizens more involved,” he said. “If we can get more information to them and empower them more, I think they’ll become more vocal about what we should do. It’s a perfect situation when the citizens and the government work together to help each other.”
Although McFarland resigned from the council and is not campaigning, her name still appears on the ballot as the incumbent and Holliday as the challenger. The voters of Ward IV will decide on Nov. 4.