In governance, as in many things, experience matters. Having been down a challenging path once or twice or many times before makes a tremendous difference in how one navigates that path again. Experienced politicians know the players, the motivations and the range of reasonable possibilities. Rookies don’t.

The three-way campaign for the Bakersfield City Council’s Ward 5 seat pits an experienced incumbent against an experienced challenger and a rookie. A mature rookie, but a political rookie just the same.

We’re endorsing the rookie, Ryan Nance.

Nance, the 41-year-old president of the local chapter of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, comes in with a slew of refreshing and sensible ideas ranging from enhanced police protection to transportation. His experience in construction — he literally helped build the Westside Parkway — would give the City Council a voice of experience in that area as it helps manage TRIP funding for future roads projects.

Too often, City Council incumbents go unopposed for re-election, or have only token opposition. Four-year term after term, they just keep returning to office. Their enthusiasm wanes. They have fewer new ideas. Frankly, the city gets into a rut.

Nance, who wouldn’t be burdened with the weight of “we’ve never done it that way” thinking, represents the antidote for that problem.

This is a nonpartisan race, but it bears mentioning that Nance is a tax-averse Republican who has managed to win the confidence and support of many trade union members, a traditionally Democratic bunch.

The Ward 5 incumbent, Harold Hanson, has generally done a good job. He’s knowledgeable, approachable and dedicated.

But Hanson, a 79-year-old semi-retired banker, is running for a fifth four-year term after having initially said he would not seek re-election. He changed his mind, as is his prerogative.

But, after 16 years, it seems time to hand over the keys.

Jeff Tkac, 53, the owner of Water-Ways Irrigation Engineers Inc., is doubtlessly equipped to take them.

In addition to being a respected local business owner, Tkac is a tested public servant. Appointed in 1995, he is believed to be the city’s longest serving planning commissioner.

In that capacity, he has helped guide the city’s growth over more than two decades and has been called upon to make some decisions. He also has served for nearly three decades as a volunteer reserve Bakersfield City police officer, patrolling some of our roughest neighborhoods to keep us safe.

In a close call, however, we like Nance and the opportunity he represents to give Bakersfield’s new mayor another fresh face to go with Andrae Gonzales, whom we’ve endorsed over incumbent Terry Maxwell in Ward 2.

Elect Ryan Nance to the Bakersfield City Council’s Ward 5 seat.

The Bakesfield Californian

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