Active volunteer hopes to help
Five candidates are seeking two seats on the Grass Valley City Council. Beginning today, The Union profiles them:
Tuesday: Patti Ingram
Thursday: Lisa Swarthout
Friday: Gerard Tassone
All election stories that have run since Sept. 25 and that appear in today’s paper can be read on our Web site, http://www.theunion.com.
Thomas Reagan knows what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet.
One of five candidates running for two seats on the Grass Valley City Council, Reagan works full time as an emergency medical technician for Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital in Grass Valley, and part time for American Medical Response out of Sacramento and Placer counties.
“I wish I didn’t have to (work two jobs),” the 45-year-old Reagan said recently. “I wish I could (only) work for Sierra Nevada. But I’ve got to make a living.
“I’m just an everyday person like everybody else,” he added. If elected, Reagan said, he will be a voice for the people.
Grass Valley’s population will continue to grow, he said, and while no one can stop growth, he wants to make sure it does not overwhelm Grass Valley’s infrastructure. Parking and traffic are the biggest issues facing the city, he said.
Tamara Reagan said her husband believes he can make a difference.
“We both recognize the need for growth,” she said, “and yet we don’t want it to become Roseville.”
The Reagans own their home and are concerned that others cannot buy a house in Grass Valley.
Thomas Reagan wants more pay for the city’s firefighters. “They need more money so they can make it here,” he said.
A volunteer firefighter with Nevada County Consolidated, he runs the ice cream booth for the Watt Park Volunteer Firefighters Association at the annual Nevada County Fair and barbecues for the Penn Valley Firefighters Association at Penn Valley’s annual rodeo.
Reagan also volunteers for the Disaster Medical Assistance Team for the Sacramento area, a team set up by the federal government and overseen by the state to provide medical care during and after disasters. The teams can be deployed nationwide.
An EMT since the late 1980s, Reagan proposes that some of the city’s firefighters be trained as paramedics. Patients would receive medical care more quickly when ambulance rigs are tied up on other calls, he said.
The city also needs more parks, said Reagan, a member of the city’s parks and recreation commission since last year.
He first realized this need while a caretaker at Memorial Park, where he saw that the baseball diamonds were always in use, he added.
The father of four children and the stepfather of one, Reagan is described by friends and family as a devoted father.
He and his wife are also the grandparents of two.
“He’s very close to his family,” said friend Randall Gross, a firefighter with Nevada County Consolidated.
Father-in-law Ron Nulph, a member of the Nevada County Consolidated Fire District board of directors and a commissioner of the Local Agency Formation Commission, said that while Reagan works two jobs, he always finds time for his kids.
“He believes in young people,” he said. “He believes in family.”
Reagan’s greatest talent, he added, is that he’s interested in everything.
Reagan, who loves to fish, likes to organize camping and fishing activities, Nulph said. “He doesn’t get bored. He takes on challenges.”
He has already run twice for Grass Valley City Council – in 1998 and 2000.
Former City Councilman John Taylor helped Reagan in 2000 and is helping him again this year. Reagan will make a great councilman, he said.
Born in San Jose, Reagan left for Phoenix at 18 and then moved on to Hawaii, where he worked in construction. He moved to Lake of the Pines in 1979 and has lived in Grass Valley since the early 1980s.
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