Ward 1 candidates Drury, Vidal focused on Rapid City economy

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Becky Drury and Vince Vidal, the candidates seeking the Ward 1 city council seat in the upcoming municipal election, believe Rapid City must be smarter with its finances to remain prosperous.

Vidal and Drury are seeking the seat being vacated by Charity Doyle, who will not seek re-election.

Vidal is a 20-year U.S. Navy veteran and currently works as an auditor for the Ellsworth Air Force Base Finance Service Center, while Drury has experience in customer service, marketing and accounting. Both candidates bring with them years of financial service, so we asked them how they think the city can work to reduce its budget shortfall.

"Another thing about the sales tax, and I'm guilty of this just like anyone else — shop locally. Shop downtown, and support our people that live here,” Drury said. “It's easy to go online and get things, but it's easy to support our businesses here for the benefit of the town."

Vidal said city government should be more diligent in spending money and not let the declining sales tax revenue cripple other areas, “… that stream of revenue that comes from (online) sales is going down,” he said. “So, in order to provide the same services with the same quality that we have been providing, I want to make sure that we're putting the money to good causes, the right causes at the right time. "

Another issue Rapid City faces is homelessness and an expensive housing market. Vidal said citizens living in poverty must be treated with more respect.

"I grew up in an unpainted house, and what I mean by that is at times I asked my father, 'You know, why don't we go buy a couple gallons of paint and let's paint this house?' And I'm a teenager and my dad would always say things like, 'You know, maybe next time. Next time,'” Vidal said. “And then I finally realized it's hard to buy paint when you're living on food stamps. So, I'm very sensitive, and I want to make sure we treat everyone with dignity and respect."

Drury said she thinks the city should work with developers to offer more affordable living space for residents.

"A lot of the developers now are coming to the city council, and when they have a plan, it has some affordable housing in it. Now that's relative for what's affordable, what's not affordable, that's all relative,” Drury said. “But, it is bringing in some houses that I think will be more affordable for that work force group that's also struggling to find places to live."

Early voting begins Monday, May 22, for the June 6 city election.

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