Kevin Spease, a former Elk Grove planning commissioner, kicked off his campaign for the Elk Grove City Council’s District 3 seat at a Jan. 30 fundraiser. More than 30 supporters, including former Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis and three City Council members, attended the party at a private room in the Sheldon Inn Restaurant & Bar.
“Elk Grove has a bright future, there’s no doubt about it when we have great residents, great parks, great schools,” Spease told the crowd. “But what we also have is great leadership and a great trajectory, and I want to be a part of that and I want to move that forward.”
Current District 3 Council Member Steve Detrick announced last December that he was not seeking re-election. He hopes that Spease will be his successor after he ends his 12-year run in the council.
“I wanted to make sure there’s someone who has the same values and wants to keep the city moving in the same direction,” Detrick said about his decision to not run for re-election. “Kevin is going to be an awesome council members – he has honesty and integrity.”
Spease is among four candidates running for District 3, which includes communities in Camden, eastern Laguna, and north Elk Grove’s Power Inn Road area. His current opponents are Maureen Craft, Amandeep Singh, and Lynn Wheat. The November election’s nomination period begins in July.
Spease resigned from the planning commission last December in order to focus on his city council campaign. He previously ran for Elk Grove mayor in 2016 and finished second behind Steve Ly.
Spease collected more than $16,700 in contributions for his City Council campaign last year, according to his campaign disclosures filed at the Elk Grove City Clerk’s office.
This November’s City Council election will be the first race that’s based on the City Council’s new “by-district” election system. Voters will only choose among candidates running in their local Council District. Previous City Council members were elected by voters across the city.
Advocates of the by-district system believe that campaigning will be less costly since candidates will only focus on a specific district.
Spease told the Citizen that he will still campaign hard and he will conduct precinct walks to connect with voters.
“Whether (the election) is citywide, by-district, or from-district, you got to get on the walk. Walkers win” he said. “If you’re going to be lazy and just get signs and flyers, that’s the wrong way.”
Spease said that his campaign will focus on how the city can be improved.
“The City Council is going to improve the city,” he said. “The traffic needs to continue to be worked on, we need to help build public safety – the challenge at this point in time is to continue to make (the city) great.”
Spease is a longtime Elk Grove resident who grew up in the rural Sheldon area. During his speech, he recalled bicycling to Pleasant Grove Elementary School as a child. The U.S. Air Force veteran now runs a cyber-security firm and he helps operate his family’s Spease Bees honey business.
The City Council appointed Spease to the planning commission in 2014. He told the Citizen that he won’t forget the perspective of residents if he’s elected to the City Council.
Spease quoted the Alabama lyric, “There’s nothing like the view from the cheap seats” during his interview.
“Before I went on the planning commission I was looking at how everything was going from the cheap seats, and it gives you a unique insight about what’s going on,” he said. “When I go up on the planning commission, and hopefully on the City Council, I can’t forget what it’s like to see it from what residents are looking at. I just want to keep working at that. We’re not always going to agree, but you have to be open and honest, and that’s what I’ll be.”
Attendees at Spease’s campaign party included local elected officials and prominent Elk Grove community members.
Every City Council member except Ly and Darren Suen attended the gathering. Other guests included Elk Grove Planning Commissioner Frank Maita, Cosumnes Community Services District Director Jim Luttrell, and California Northstate University President Dr. Alvin Cheung.
John Shook, a colleague of Spease on the Elk Grove Regional Scholarship Foundation board, shared his support.
“He likes to give back to the community,” he said. “It’s not about him; it’s about where he lives, which is Elk Grove.”
Davis, who served as mayor when Spease was appointed to the planning commission, told the Citizen about Spease’s volunteer work in the community
“He really does embody the Elk Grove community spirit, and so I’m excited that he’s running and I’m proud to support him.
A few supporters noted that Spease was the 2018 Elk Grove Citizen of the Year and he’s an active Rotarian when they spoke with the Citizen about his merits.
Elk Grove City Council Member Pat Hume said that Spease has a strong background from serving as a planning commissioner. Hume was a planning commissioner before he was elected to the City Council in 2006.
“Personally, I think it’s a good transition to go from planning commissioner to council member,” he said. “And with his involvement with Rotary, he has taken care of folks who need a little something extra. Like me, he grew up in Elk Grove and so he remembers what it used to be, and he can preserve that going forward.”