As the newly appointed City Council member, Jack Heath is interested in bringing more jobs to Salisbury, particularly manufacturing jobs.
“That’s closest to my heart,” said the 68-year-old New Jersey native, chosen from 12 applicants to serve on the council seat vacated by Terry Cohen last month.
“Jobs, especially manufacturing jobs, are important, bringing more jobs to the Eastern Shore. The more business you have, obviously, the more taxes you can get from those businesses and you can then start to invest more money without putting the tax burden on the individual,” Heath said.
He was chosen by the City Council in a special meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 27, and sworn in Tuesday, Sept. 2, then began his new appointment at a work session. Last week, he was excited about receiving his first meeting packet.
Heath said City Council members selected him because “the overall sentiment was I’d be a good fit.”
They knew him from his unsuccessful campaign for office a year ago.
“I lost, but the message I sent then probably resonated with them. I think some of the questions relative to what I would do, what I see as important coming up, those kinds of things, hit home for them,” he said.
“I think everybody just wants to make sure they have a good place to live, good education, safety, the things everybody wants. Those things cost money and money doesn’t grow on trees obviously, so the more business we can bring in to share the burden, the better we will be,” Heath said.
He retired as chief executive officer of Lower Shore Enterprises, but remained as the search for a new CEO continues.
Heath praised the City Council, saying the members have made many accomplishments and are respected. That was evident when 12 people expressed interest in joining them on the board, he said.
“The positive things they are doing with revitalization of downtown is just one example of that. I think with my experience in business and my knowledge and activity in the community I can facilitate some of that and hopefully move it along,” Heath said.
City Council President Jake Day praised Heath, selected by unanimous vote, for his civil spirit.
“He has devoted himself to the city for a long time. That sort of spirit, is something we can really use,” Day said.
“He has a ton of experience with leadership for-profit and non-profit. Jack will blend in well and will have no trouble jumping right on board. He knows what he believes in,” Day said.
He called Heath’s desire to bring jobs and industry to the area “an augmentation of our focus.”
“That is the focus of any elected official today , with few exceptions, to create an environment where jobs can be created. He has that focus,” Day said.
Heath and his wife, Linda, have three children. Two are teachers in Wicomico County and a son lives in Elkridge, Md. There are six grandchildren.
Heath said he might run for a full, four-year term in November 2015, when this appointment ends.
Reach Susan Canfora at email@example.com.