By Michael Salerno
For Hometown News
DAYTONA BEACH - Ruth Trager has called Daytona Beach her home almost all of her life. Now she wants to make a positive difference in her home.
She's running for the Zone 1 city commission seat against broker Carl Lentz IV and real estate agent Dale Heuermann. Ms. Trager ran for the seat in 2010 but lost to Edith Shelley, who resigned to run for mayor in this year's election.
"I'd like to say I've got life experience, business experience, practical experience and good common sense," she said. "Plus, I love this city."
Ms. Trager, 74, has lived in Daytona Beach for 60 years. A graduate of Seabreeze High School, she and her husband Warren, who is also a Daytona Beach native, have operated several successful businesses in the area over the years. One of their businesses, Warren's Wholesale Liquors, was spotlighted last year on an episode of the popular History Channel series "American Pickers."
Her service includes 15 years on the Economic Development Advisory Board, six years on the Community Development Advisory Board, and 10 years on the Keep Daytona Beach Beautiful Board, where she was named Member of the Year. She has also served as president of the Halifax Historical Society and the Volusia Anthropological Society.
If elected, Ms. Trager's priorities include quality of life improvements, economic development, infrastructure and promoting "common sense rules" in city government.
She wants citizens to work together towards keeping their neighborhoods clean and safe, something she believes would help attract new business to the area. She also wants to see more neighborhood associations established that would work to improve the city.
To help new and existing businesses, Ms. Trager wants to make the application and permitting process easier, as well as promote the area's many assets such as the airport and access to higher education.
"We've got five universities here," she said. "We've got facilities to train people for new jobs ... Daytona Beach is the world's most famous beach. How many people are envious of that?"
Industry jobs, such as those in the medical and automotive fields, are needed in the community, she said.
Ms. Trager believes infrastructure is an important issue because major improvements are necessary to city roadways, as well as water and sewer lines.
"Infrastructure is not a glamorous subject, but it is very, very necessary," she said. "If there's a sewer backup, all that stuff needs to be fixed."
She said she was glad to see a project aimed at refurbishing Orange Avenue could finally move forward, and expressed hope it would "go on without a snag" so it adequately addresses the residents' concerns.
Government transparency and making residents feel government leaders are working for them are also important to Ms. Trager. She said she wants to see the public more involved in city meetings by giving them more time to speak.
"As long as we get these people involved in our government," she said, "the better government we will have."
Ms. Trager has three adult children, Brenda, Sharon and Wanda, as well as five grandchildren.
Ms. Trager feels her experience and skills make her "the best representative" out of those running in Zone 1.
"I'm a hard worker," she said. "I'm a problem solver. I would give my utmost best to the residents of Zone 1 and the city."