Ryan H. Watts
Why are you running?
Running for city council has been something I have been considering for the last few years ... and after much thought and a challenge from some of my students, I have decided that now is as good a time as any. I teach government at Nevada High School, and civic responsibility is something that my students and I were discussing just prior to the time to file for city council began. My classes were discussing what civic responsibilities were, and essentially the conversation boiled down to "civic responsibilities are things you don't have to do, but you should do."
We were discussing all the different civic responsibilities that people have, voting, supporting candidates for office, running for public office and things of that nature, and a student asked me how I perform my civic duties. I told the student that I vote, and support candidates and ideas, and generally try to help my community whenever possible, and then they asked if I had ever run for public office. I informed them that I hadn't. One of them stated something along the lines of "Mr. Watts, I thought you said these are things that we should do, and if you are telling us we should do them, why haven't you?" That was a good question and one I didn't have a very good answer for, so I told the students I would think about it and get back with them regarding that subject. I thought about it for a while and the more I pondered the question the more I thought about the fact that I had been considering running for the past few years anyway. I realized that I didn't have a good reason for not running, and I have a responsibility to my country and my town, and decided that I should perform my civic responsibility and run for office. It really wasn't a hard decision once I thought about it, Nevada has given me so much, the least I can do is try and give some back.
I have lived in Nevada all of my life, grew up here, and will spend the rest of my life here raising my children here. Nevada has always made me feel welcome, the people, the schools, the neighborhoods where I grew up, have always made me feel like I was a part of the community. That sense of community is something that some towns and cities lack, and I want to help ensure that Nevada always is a welcoming place, where people can live and be, and always feel as at home and part of the community as I have.
What are the top three issues confronting the city?
While there are many issues facing our city, growth, poverty and drug use are three that are of the most concerning to me. When I say growth, I have no visions of Nevada growing into a bustling metropolis, nor do I have a desire for it to do so. I love living in a small town, I love the sense of community that is part of small town life. I love that Nevada is still a place where people say hello to one another, and we know who our neighbors are, but a town that isn't growing cannot support its citizens. When I discuss growth, the main issue is jobs; good jobs that people can be proud of and will inspire people to want to come here, and for our successful young people to want to stay here. If elected, one councilman cannot on his own bring business and jobs to our town, but I want to do whatever I can to help make Nevada a place that is attractive for new organizations and new business that brings jobs to help support our community and economy. The other two issues that I listed, poverty and drug use, are linked directly to growth. Having good opportunities for jobs will help those living in poverty that want to find work have the opportunity to do so. If people have good jobs and can improve their lives, they will be less likely to turn to drug use. Our police, in conjunction with the sheriff's department, have been doing a great job cracking down on drug use; I want to be part of the solution that continues to give them whatever they need continue to do such good work. If people are not turning to drugs due to poverty, and our police force is well supported to arrest those who choose to use drugs, I think we will see less and less of that issue. All in all, the my main goal is to do whatever I can to ensure that Nevada is a safe place to live, that it is attractive to new business, and is well cared for so that when people come here they will want to purchase homes in city limits and help support the community that has always been there for my family and me.
Your top priority once elected
My top priority is directly linked to the three issues I previously mentioned, I want to do whatever I can to maintain what we have and continue to improve our town so that it is a place both individuals and organizations want to come to. I want to see neighborhoods that are down on their luck improve; I want to see the vacant prime real estate for business being occupied and thriving, I want those individuals who are helping their community in anyway feel as if they are not alone and they are appreciated for the work they are doing. My priority is to be invested in the future of our town and make sure that Nevada is as great a place for my children to grow up, and my children's children, as it was for me.
Your professional background
I am a world history and American, state and local government teacher at the Nevada High School.
List any civic, community involvement and/or church involvement
I have been a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Nevada all of my life, I was baptized there and my wife was baptized there, along with my two sons. I am currently serving as an elder on session as well.
My children participate in community programs in sports and I am proud to see them participating the way I did when I was their age.
I coach multiple sports for the Nevada school district and am very proud of my athletes and thoroughly enjoy working with the young student athletes of Nevada.
I am a proud graduate of the Nevada R-5 School District. I truly believe we have as great a school as any in the state! I have fond memories of kindergarten through graduation in the Nevada schools, and am very happy to be working on a daily basis with future Nevada graduates who I am sure will be as proud of their education at Nevada as I am.
I have Bachelors of Science in history education from Pittsburg State University.
I have also been continuing my education and I will be graduating at the end of this year with a Master's degree in American Social History.
I am very proud and pleased to say that all of my family lives in Nevada as well ... my parents Robert and Janie (both teachers for the Nevada School District) and my sisters Emily and Lauren all live in Nevada. My wife Jessica teaches second grade in Nevada at Benton elementary where my 8 year old son Aiden is currently attending and we have a 2 year old son named Alden as well.