Tom Gregory believes Lebanon needs a change in leadership.
“I think that if you are really interested in helping your town and you want to see job growth in town, hope to see your kids grow up and be able to find work in this town, I think you need to vote for me because that’s what I’m going to do,” Gregory said. “I’m going to do what I can to bring in economic growth to the community,” Gregory said.
He thinks the city’s primary assets are its people and its surroundings.
“These people are great in this town,” Gregory said. “And the beauty. It’s so beautiful.”
But he believes the city is currently on the wrong track. He is especially upset about high water and sewer rates.
These high rates are the primary reason he is running for office.
“I think we’re trying to overcharge our people. I think city hall is the weakness right now. It needs to improve, and I think we can improve it. It’s not well-planned right now,” Gregory said.
He believes the system development fees charged to developers should be increased. Gregory does not believe they are paying as much of the cost of development as they should, and this is being unfairly passed on to residents.
“I’m just a citizen like everyone else and I don’t feel like we should be paying for something a developer should be paying for,” Gregory said. “Some millionaire gets everything free and we have to pay for it. They should be putting their part into it. It shouldn’t be us.”
A retired veteran, Gregory initially served for three years in the army. After being discharged, he joined the navy and served a sailor for 20 years. He was a navigator on the USS Topeka, a nuclear submarine, and was on board when the vessel famously straddled the International Date Line as midnight approached on Dec. 31, 1999.
Gregory said the submarine’s crew was among the first to confirm that the feared Y2K computer problem was not going to be an issue.
Gregory was born in Missouri and grew up in Florida. He moved to Lebanon in 2015.
He thinks his primary strength as a candidate is that he understands people and the issues they face. He ran a small café at one point in his life and he knows how regulations can raise costs and make business ownership more difficult than it should be.
“I’m out in public, I talk to the businesses,” Gregory said. “You ask them, ‘How’s your business doing?’ They’re scraping by. Some of these people are not making it. The city’s got to do more to help them.”
He believes city government is guilty of waiting and reacting to issues as they.
“No more knee-jerk reactions to emergencies. We need to think ahead with a little bit more thought about how we want to build our town,” Gregory said.