The big question surrounding the current mayoral election is: Will the wide field of Democratic candidates help sweep Republican Mike Clark into the mayor’s office this May? Former EWEB commissioner and current mayoral candidate Bob Cassidy doesn’t think so.
Cassidy doubts his conservative opponent can stitch together the just-more-than 50 percent of the ballots he’ll need in order to settle this race in May’s primary. Nor does Cassidy think Democrat Lucy Vinis can match Clark’s experience or name recognition in the general election.
“I’m not at all concerned about splitting the vote,” Cassidy tells EW. “I’ve been planning this for two years. [Vinis and I] are both on the ballot; we’ll see what the people want.”
A card-carrying member of the Social Democratic Party of America, Cassidy says social and economic equality are the bedrock underlying the issues. Cassidy says he favors raising the minimum wage in Eugene to $15 an hour.
The city employs more than 700 temporary workers, many of whom qualify for food stamps, Cassidy says, adding that it’s not right for the city to balance its budget on the backs of underpaid workers.
In the past, Cassidy has proposed a state sales tax dedicated to education that would bolster Eugene’s underfunded public schools. He also says he wants more affordable housing and favors building homes for Eugene’s unhoused on 53 acres of public land near the city-owned Laurelwood Golf Course in south Eugene.
Generally speaking, the retired small business owner approves of Eugene’s council-manager form of government, though he’s critical of the way current City Manager John Ruiz has handled the question of Kesey Square’s future.
“A rush job,” Cassidy calls it.
As mayor, Cassidy would preside over a more productive and engaged City Council, he says. To do this, he intends to reorganize council work sessions to encourage more dialogue among policy makers. Cassidy also wants to shift power away from the mayor’s office, he says.
In Cassidy’s view, the mayor’s only function should be to break ties when City Council is evenly split, which is why it’s so important that Eugene’s mayor reflect the city’s values.
“If that person has to break a tie, you don’t have time to take a poll. You have to think like most of the people do,” Cassidy says. “My values are the same as the city’s.”