A former La Center city councilor is seeking a return to local government, challenging a two-term incumbent and former mayor this November.

La Center City Council Position 5 has incumbent Elizabeth Cerveny facing off against former councilor Linda Tracy. Moving to the city in 2000, Tracy had a previous rise through the La Center community, getting involved with the city chamber of commerce before joining the city council in 2004, serving two terms. On top of that, she mentioned involvement with the Miss Teen La Center Scholarship program and the La Center Police Advisory Coalition as examples of her community involvement.

“It’s like I never can say ‘no,’” Tracy said. “I’m just a really community-oriented person.”

As to why she wanted to return, Tracy said the city goes through different stages of development. Whereas in the past the biggest concern was the coming of ilani and its effect on the city’s cardrooms, now the Cowlitz casino has been built and the focus is on other avenues for economic development to drive city revenue.

“I know that a lot of people like the fact that it’s a bedroom community, but you still need to fix the potholes … You still have to have the police department and the fire department, so then you wonder how long it will be until we can’t afford that anymore,” Tracy said.

To meet the new challenge, Tracy said a major task is the reassessment of land inventory for economic development within the city’s urban growth area. She has a few ideas on what that might look like, explaining that a hardware store or an antique mall would be fitting for the area.

Tracy said she feels some of the choices by the council after her tenure weren’t the best for the city. She mentioned concerns over the city’s purchase of the old TDS Telecom building downtown to move city services, explaining she saw the facility as more appropriate for commercial business.

Tracy said a vote for her will be for “fair and honest representation,” noting both previous council experience as well as expereince outside of politics, owning several businesses and at one point working as a professional singer.

“There’s not a lot of things that surprise me anymore,” Tracy said.

Cerveny said economic development has been a focus of hers both during her current city council tenure and when she was La Center mayor from 1997 to 2003. She said bringing property at the Interstate 5 junction is an important step given the relative lack of land viable for commercial projects.

Cerveny mentioned that balancing the commercial development at the junction with what’s available downtown is important so one area doesn’t grow at the expense of the other. If elected again, her top priority will be continuing work with developers at the junction, which will likely see retail development as some of the first projects on the site.

Outside of that development, Cerveny said in her previous term she had a focus on looking into efficiencies in city government on activities such as permitting. Personally, she said her willingness to dig into issues makes her the best candidate for the position.

“That means a lot of homework and a lot of dedication to do the research and be aware of the pros and cons,” Cerveny said. 

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