Havre Daily News
David Brewer said he is running for the Ward 1 seat on the Havre City Council because he is "frustrated" with the current council's membership.
"Geez, make a decision," Brewer said in an interview Thursday. "They put things off. They just don't seem like they come to meetings prepared. They don't come across as a team, and they don't get things done."
Brewer said he has been to City Council meetings in the past when he wanted to give input, but has not been to one since announcing his candidacy.
"I just think it would be a distraction for the meetings and the people down there, if I show up," he said. "I'm involved in the community, so I know what's going on. I read the paper, I watch the news and I listen to the radio."
On Tuesday, Brewer will face fellow Democrat Gerry Veis in the primary election for Ward 1. Incumbent Dana West is not seeking re-election. No Republican filed for the seat, so the winner on Tuesday will be unopposed in the Nov. 8 general election.
Brewer served with the U.S. Air Force for 26 years and spent his last 10 years before retirement as a senior master sergeant. He said he spent a lot of time in meetings with high-ranking officers.
"We were making big decisions and little decisions," Brewer said. "You've got to come to a meeting prepared. You've got to do your homework. I sure hope I do a better job if I'm elected."
Brewer was raised in Great Falls and came to Havre in 1987 to attend Northern Montana College. He has spent the last four years as a railroad conductor with BNSF Railway. He said he will be able to work around his schedule to attend meetings if he's elected.
Brewer said the City Council needs to do a better job of communicating.
"It just seems like sometimes it's disjointed," he said. "Sometimes I think politics gets involved with making a good decision. (If elected), I'm not just going to go in there and vote my way, but I'm going to make a decision."
The biggest issue facing the city for the coming four years is the First Street reconstruction project, Brewer said. The Montana Department of Transportation will begin work in 2007 on the project, which involves street and sidewalk replacement, water and sewer line replacement, landscaping and beautification. It will take at least two summers to complete and cost between $17 million and $20 million.
Brewer said workers may uncover soil contamination.
"I think they're going to find a lot of diesel fuel," he said. "There are some issues that are going to have to be dealt with. It's going to take some good leadership. I think everybody knows it's coming, but everyone's avoiding it."
He said the City Council should consider drafting a charter for city government. The issue would have to be put before voters, who rejected one a decade ago. Havre operates under the provisions of state statute, which provides general powers for city officials. A charter would allow the city to craft its own government and set roles and responsibilities for local officials.
"I would like to see us revisit that issue," Brewer said. "Not having a charter keeps us from doing a lot of things. I think the City Council needs to ... form an ad hoc committee and look into it."
A charter also gives Havre the option of holding nonpartisan elections, which Brewer said he would support.
Street and sidewalk repair are also a "major concern," he said. Special improvement districts are a way to make sure all property owners can afford the work, he said.
Brewer said he has knocked on some doors and spoken with residents in his ward. His campaign finance report states that he will not take in or spend more than $500.
Brewer serves as a United Way of Hill County board member, is involved with the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors, and is a member of the American Legion and the VFW, in which he is a member of the honor guard. He is a past board member of Hill County Crime Stoppers.
Brewer and his wife, Denise, have three grown children and seven grandchildren.