Today we feature Brent Weaver, who announced Friday his plan to run for a seat on the Redding City Council.
Weaver has been described as a homegrown success story. He was born and raised in Redding where he participated in football, tennis and choir at Shasta High School. He worked at his family's lumberyard from eighth grade through high school.
After graduation, Weaver attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and served a two-year mission to Taiwan, where he became fluent in Mandarin. He also studied abroad at BYU's Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. Weaver earned his degree in political science and international relations, with an emphasis on international law and diplomacy.
Upon returning to the north state, Weaver purchased Hughes Plywood in 2003, Hughes Redwood in 2006 and Moss Lumber in 2012, all of which have been renamed Weaver Lumber. He opened his True Value store in south Redding on October 11.
While he was growing Weaver Lumber, Weaver also launched a development company that has been instrumental in creating mixed-use projects in downtown Redding. The Gateway Building features three retail/restaurant spaces, four office spaces and four apartments. The Pine Street Lofts have four retail/office spaces and 14 apartments.
Weaver says that although the Great Recession devastated much of the construction industry, he says his business grew by nearly 300 percent.
Weaver has been a leader with the Boy Scouts of America for seven years, and is currently a den leader. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Redding and serves on the Mercy Foundation North board of directors. He has been a board member for the Shasta Junior Wolves football organization and coaches youth soccer, basketball and football.
Weaver and his wife, Leanne, have four children. Bio excerpted from Brent Weaver campaign website
Q: Brent Weaver, welcome to anewscafe.com, and thank you for taking the time to answer some questions.
First, congratulations on the announcement that you'll be running as a Redding City Council candidate. Before we get too deep into this conversation, can you tell what it was that made you decide to run? Has anyone asked you if you need your head examined?
Over the past several months, yes, quite a few people have asked if I am crazy to run for a publicly held office.
Honestly though, I love the thought that a person who cares about their community and has ideas on how we can improve it can throw their name into the hat. Whether or not he or she will win is a totally different story.
I believe my roots as a third generation citizen of Redding, along with my four kids being born here, qualify me as somebody who cares deeply about the community. My experiences as an employer at Weaver Lumber and my entrepreneurial spirit displayed in my redevelopment projects downtown (e.g. Gateway Building, Pine Street Lofts) paint me as somebody who has not just talked about what he would like to do, but has shown that I have a track record of results. People are fed up with the discord and gridlock we see at all levels of politics, they just want results.
Q: Brent, I attended part of your announcement in South City Park, which I believe might be the first time I've seen any public event held there, primarily because I think most citizens consider it a dangerous place. I know that speaking personally, you couldn't pay me to take my grandchildren there. And I couldn't help but notice a group of transients in the park that morning, including one man sleeping on the asphalt with his head on the curb. So, why did you choose South City Park as your announcement location?
It would have been easy to pick a location like the Sundial Bridge to announce my candidacy, which is very picturesque. However, I'm running to draw attention to programs and places that are broken and need attention. By announcing from South City Park it allows us to show where we once were as a community - when I was a child - to where we are today, and where we'd like to go.
City issues are constantly evolving and will require elected leaders to keep pace. It's important we send leaders into office who have a record of getting things done.
Q: I see. So, in a way, South City Park was the perfect location to make a point. Speaking of which, why are some of the "broken" places, frequented by transients and homeless, such a concern for you?
I was taught growing up that we need to care about all people, especially for those who are less-fortunate. I will work to strengthen those non-profits in our community who are dealing with these social issues under very difficult circumstances.
They need resources, collaboration and leadership from their elected leaders. It's time we make an honest effort to discuss these difficult subjects.
On the flip side, there are neighborhoods and merchants who are being placed in very difficult situations in terms of the illegal activities that are taking place, literally at their doorsteps. In light of funding constraints, I would like to see more community outreach between community services and private neighborhood leaders and merchants, so our citizens can organize in the appropriate way to make the places they live and work safer.
Somebody asked me recently on this subject, what are you going to do to fix this? My reply was, "What are WE going to do to fix this"?
Q: "WE" ... I remember that from your announcement. So what other issues will form your platform?
- WE value good governance and a spirit of civility-
- WE will promote fiscally conservative policies-
- WE will strengthen public safety (Police & Fire)-
- WE will invest in city Infrastructure-
- WE will create a vision for the next 10 years and bring it to fruition-
Q: Sounds good, but what experience do you have that you believe makes you the kind of candidate who can successfully deal with those issues and meet goals?
We live in an era of financial constraints. Whether you are in the public, private or non-profit sectors you have had to learn to do more with less.
I think I have shown over the past 10 years that I can manage a business during very difficult market conditions. I can calmly make decisions and show leadership to keep everyone focused and invested in the task at hand. At the same time that I was running my lumber business, I took great financial risk in moving forward with my mixed-use projects downtown during the great recession. I had a lot of sleepless nights, but I stayed the course and today both of my buildings downtown enjoy full occupancy.
The lessons I have learned from the private sector have honed my skills to be a better leader and decision maker. I believe this is exactly what our city needs at this time.
Q: How would you describe your views about government leadership?
It starts with a spirit of cooperation and respect. You get five leaders together, all with different backgrounds, and you are guaranteed to have differences. It's how you go about the process that is key.
Do I have differences with people I do business with in the private sector? Absolutely. But you learn sooner or later that you've got to be able to disagree in such a way that you can still work together on the next project. The polarization and conflict we see in all levels of government today is only hurting the people who elected you in the first place to achieve results on their behalf.
If elected, I promise those who vote for me that I'll listen more than I speak, show humility in my conduct, and have an open mind and a thirst for knowledge. That's how I was taught from a young age that a leader should conduct oneself.
Q: Brent, as you think over the years and recall previous council members, can you think of anyone whose sensibilities are similar to yours? If so, how?
Yes, Mike Dahl. Although he served on the City Council and as Mayor at a time when I was away for College, I've had the opportunity to get to know him better over the past year.
His sincere desire to see Redding succeed, and his willingness to listen to those from all different political walks of life is a testament of his openness to putting the best idea forward regardless of who gets credit for it.
Mike has been very successful in both the public and private sectors; that's a historical fact. Whether I am able to live up to such a high standard is still open to debate. In other words, we are only a few chapters into my story. I have a lot to prove, talk is cheap...
Q: What is it that most bothers you about the city of Redding that you'd like changed?
That there is a tendency by some people to sometimes view Redding as a second-class community. I've lived in Utah, Taiwan, Jerusalem, and the Bay Area during my life. I can tell you hands down that the quality of life we experience here in Redding is second to none.
We need to hold our heads high, not that we are better than anyone, but with the attitude that WE are Redding and we are proud of our community. Not only do we have great people who live here but our outdoor amenities are second to none.
You know what people in the Bay Area are thinking about as they work in their cubicles and wonder how they are going to deal with the traffic on the way home? They are thinking about their upcoming weekend, driving out of the City to go mountain biking, hiking, boating, camping, etc. We get to do that everyday here!
Q: And how the best thing about Redding; something you'd like reinforced?
That each of us can make a difference in a community like Redding. Having lived in bigger metropolitan areas, you feel like there are so many people around you that you couldn't possibly make a difference. It is exciting to think about the future of Redding, what the next generation of leaders will bring to the table.
Q: Speaking of you being part of the next generation, it's hard not to miss your social media connections, such as your Facebook page and blog. But let's say you are elected, how would you like people to describe you after you've been in office a while?
I would like to be described as a reasonable leader who shows innovative thinking for tackling both problems and carrying out our vision for where we want to go as a community. I want people to comment that I've been effective in getting things done.
Q: Finally, what would you like as your legacy?
That I was the best husband to my wife and father to my children.
Q: Anything else you'd like us to know?
I want your vote so I can get to work on your behalf.
Thank you, Brent. Best of luck to you.
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.