Airport race winners hope for cooperation
The three Community Airport Restoration Effort candidates who ran on a platform of managing airport growth and promoting community involvement swept the Truckee Tahoe Airport Board election Tuesday.With their landslide victory they will become the majority of the five-person board. Kathleen Eagan, Mary Hetherington and Paul Vatistas ousted incumbents Ken Foster and Connie Stevens and beat out the other three candidates to cap a race that became the most heated of the local contests.The three candidates will serve with current board members Michael Golden and Steve Swigard, one of whom will be selected as president of the new board. The district voters went so solidly for the CARE candidates that even they were surprised. “Yes, I was surprised at the strength of the support both in Truckee and at the lake,” said Eagan.The victory can be credited to the hard work of their volunteers and the uniqueness of their campaign message, the winners said. But with one hurdle cleared, the board members-elect will now face the challenge of uniting a community that showed sharp divisions over airport issues during the campaign.”My hope is that people will come together afterward,” said Eagan. “I don’t want to be looking back, I want to be looking forward.”The three like-minded candidates will be working on the board with Golden and Swigard, a relationship that all three said they think will be positive.”I hope that it will work out to be an extraordinarily good relationship,” said Paul Vatistas. “We certainly seek to have a collaborative culture on the board.”Board member Michael Golden said that he thinks the arrival of “new blood” at the airport could increase the board’s cohesiveness.”I hope that with the election of three new candidates, the board will be more united than before,” said Golden. The board will now be composed of three Truckee residents and two residents of North Tahoe; three non-pilots and two pilots. CARE candidates say this makeup will be more representative to the entire community the airport serves.”The airport is an important piece of the community, but it is not the only piece,” said Mary Hetherington. Eagan said that despite the heated nature of the campaign, many inventive ideas on noise abatement and community participation were aired. She said that she hopes to work with the other five candidates to incorporate some of those ideas. Meanwhile, the three candidates are enjoying the end to a demanding campaign before they take the equally demanding position on the board.”It had been a very emotional ride,” said Eagan.
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