Title: Mayor Pro Tem
Municipality: City of Marion
Position Interested In: District Representative (District 11)
Tell us why you would like to serve in a leadership position at the League. In particular, specify goals you would like to accomplish as an officer or board member and indicate how, if attained, they will help to achieve Vision 2030 – the League’s future vision of how cities and towns will operate in 2030.
As a current member of a city council for a smaller municipality, I can attest to the lack of affordable housing no longer being an issue limited to larger urban areas. As a council, we have been privileged to form partnerships with the county, developers, and not for profit agencies to try and solve this issue both in the short and long term. One particular piece of this issue is that of wages not keeping pace with real estate costs and putting a significant percentage of individuals at a cost burden. State mandates often serve to hand-cuff cities and townships with no ability to fund any social programs that have a strong correlation with housing issues as well. Of course, this issue exists throughout our state and being able to assist in the overcoming of this issue would be a privilege. Also, having an opportunity to work with the League to continue to work towards statewide equity in broadband access. The Covid-19 pandemic has served to shine a bright light on the discrepancies in internet access across our state and put many of our children at a distinct disadvantage.
Tell us about your experience as a municipal official. You may want to include information on your service on the municipal governing body, other related boards and special areas of interest.
At my first training with the League after being elected to serve on city council, I gained the knowledge that local level officials are truly the only govenrment officials that have public trust. Doing everything possible to only strengthen, and never harm that trust is what I consider my biggest obligation to my community. I feel that Thomas Jefferson said best, "When a person assumes a public trust, they should consider themselves as public property." I have the great pleasure of working with city staff and officials that I feel govern under this premise. Having been a part of city government during this Covid-19 pandemic has raised awareness of some particular current issues. One, is the inequity in internet services as I referenced previously and the other is the need for increased autonomy for local municipalities. I feel like our local businesses and ecomony in general, and in turn the overall quality of life of our friends and neighbors would not have been quite as negatively effected had our local governments had the ability to implement policies tailored to our particular city/county. I'm proud to say that our local elected officials on a city and county level have a fantastic relationship where we put any differences aside and truly come together to what we can to do whatever we feel is best for our citizens, and its been a rewarding experience for me as a member of council.
Tell us about your educational background, professional experience, and/or community or civic activities.
I have a passion for children, education, and human services and a great majority of my educational and professional experience leans towards those passions. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Western Carolina University. I have also attended our local Community College and am so grateful for the educational opportunities it offered me both while still attending High School and after HS graduation. I am a big advocate of the Community College System and the tremendous benefits it offers our state residents. Having served as the director of a PsychoSocial Rehabilitation program, I continue enjoy spending time with and advocating for individuals in recovery from mental illness and substance abuse. I am active with volunteer work at our local FoodHub as well as the church I attend. I have been truly blessed with opportunities to serve on local and regional boards such as Isothermal Rural Planning Technical Advisory Committee, CareReach Board, Centro Unido Latina- Americana, City-County Joint Utility Committee as well as others. These responsibilities have truly given me much increased and diverse insights and experiences.
Have You Participated in Any NCLM Events or Committees?
CityVision Annual Conference
Technical Advisory Committees
Please provide any other information you would like the Nominations Committee to consider.