Williamson announces reelection bid | NevadaAppeal.com

Williamson announces reelection bid

Amanda Hammon, Appeal Staff Writer

Carson City Supervisor Robin Williamson announced Wednesday she intends to seek reelection to her Ward 1 seat.

“I enjoy what I’m doing, and I want to continue doing it,” she said.

Williamson, 51, defeated two-term supervisor Greg Smith in the 1998 election 8,244 votes to 6,468. She campaigned primarily on improving communication between Carson government and city residents.

When she ran in 1998, Fuji Park was in the headlines during Barone negotiations, which would have seen an events center with a restaurant and 300-slot casino at the fairgrounds Williamson said she was disturbed that residents weren’t paying attention to the deal. When no one filed against Smith, Williamson on the last day filed because “I didn’t know any better,” she joked.

“I just fell into it,” she said. “But I see myself as a leader. I see myself as someone involved in civic organizations.”

She was serving at the time on the city’s Open Space Committee but never envisioned herself as a long-term public servant.

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“It wasn’t my childhood dream to be president of the United States, but I’ve enjoyed this more than I thought I would,” Williamson said. “I like the people. There are just a lot of talented, interesting people who live here. It’s just a very special place, I think.”

She serves as chairwoman of the city’s Redevelopment Authority, and credits much of her success as a supervisor to her work on that committee. She considers the Brewery Arts Center’s purchase of St. Teresa’s and its transformation from Catholic church to performance hall as one of the highlights of her term.

“It did all of the things that I like,” she said. “It preserved history … and is one more area of stimulus to (help) make downtown business successful.”

She is a strong supporter of efforts to create trails throughout the city and championed the addition of a multi-use path and landscaping through the Carson freeway corridor. The issue of adding the path at the base of the freeway prompted her to organize in 2000 a walk of the freeway corridor, which she continued in 2001. She represents or has represented the city on the Western Nevada Development District, the Carson Water Subconservancy District, The Carson River Advisory Committee, the Carson Valley Conservation District, the Nevada Association of Counties, the Clear Creek Watershed Council and One Region.

Her term on the Board of Supervisors has been a learning experience where she’s said she learned that at some point, the discussion over an issue has to end and a decision has to be made, which isn’t always easy.

The current controversy over Fuji Park and the fairgrounds has been “difficult because it’s been so acrimonious.”

“There have been so many charges, really harsh statements made, a lot of name calling, a lot of government distrust and that’s disturbing,”

Sometimes, she takes the fallout from contentious issues personally.

“I do the best I can for the community,” she said. “I try to step back and do what’s best for the community. I campaigned on open government, and I’m concerned that some people think that’s not happening. We have our discussions out in public. I’ve been on the losing end (of board votes) and I’ve been on the winning end.”

Williamson would like to focus on continuing to improve downtown — she envisions a parking garage and art galleries mingling with unique restaurants and stores — as well as pushing regional cooperation. She said there is a lot of distrust between regional counties that needs to be worked out.

She also plans to continue the push the completion the Carson freeway.

Williamson is the oldest of five children and grew up in Spokane, Wash. and San Diego. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in political science and a minor in journalism. She worked for the Las Vegas Review-Journal before going to work in sales for Xerox.

She met her husband Phil, an auditor for the Bureau of Consumer Advocacy, in Las Vegas. They relocated to Sparks and nine years ago, moved to Carson City. They are the parents of Leslie, 22, of Denver; Melissa, 20, a student at the University of Washington in Seattle, and Allison, 19, a freshman at the University of Nevada, Reno.

An avid supporter of soccer, the Williamsons are co-founders of the annual Comstock Shootout, which this year will bring 190 soccer teams to compete in — and boost the economy of, Williamson points out — Carson City.