Gerald Thompson

Gerald Thompson poses for a photo in The Daily Independent studio.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a series of stories profiling each of the nine Ashland city commission candidates

Community member Gerald Thompson has decided to join the Ashland city commission race.

Thompson, 73, was born and raised in Ashland. He served for 30 years in the United States Army and retired in 2000 as a colonel. He attended Georgia Tech University and he went into the Army after he graduated. He believes he is a great fit for city commission because of his military experience and his love for Ashland. Thompson said one of the most important things to focus on is water.

“That has to occupy a space at the top of the list, and you have to know it’s never going to go away,” said Thompson.

Thompson said he doesn’t want to go into the role of city commissioner with a fixed idea of what needs to be done. He wants to be open to what is happening in the city.

“The things that attracted me to the military in the first place comes from being raised here in Ashland and my family,” said Thompson. “It’s an ethic of service. It’s a commitment of service. An advantage at this point of my life and career is I’m not particularly attached to any group.”

Thompson believes this puts him in a good position to “sit at the table and problem-solve.” He thinks he will bring an unbiased perspective regarding issues the city faces.

“I’ve had quite a bit of exposure sitting around in small groups where people have different ideas and you have to have some commitment and some skill to get to an agree that will work,” said Thompson.

Thompson said he loved being in the Army because he was able to meet objectives.

“Take care of your people and accomplish your mission,” he said. “I was able to figure out how to do both of those things, and it was extremely rewarding.”

The things Ashland needs to accomplish won’t be easy, Thompson said.

“We need an effective city government to help us work through,” said Thompson. “The type of government we have, and the challenges the city faces with resources and opportunities, means this is not a job for someone on a white stallion with a shining suit of armor to lead the way to peace and freedom. We are going to have to be very patient and (very intentional) with how we set priorities.”

The primary election for city commission is on May 19.

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