I want to thank you, the residents of Smyrna in Ward 3 for entrusting me to serve you and represent your interests on Smyrna City Council. My story is one of putting principles into action. On December 5th 2017 the city of Smyrna made history when for the first time in 145 years of existence the city elected an African American to Smyrna's City Council. More than fifty percent of Smyrna's population are people of color and they now have a seat at the table, too. This didn't happen because of me. It happened because of you. A small group of people who shared a common set of principles banded together and were willing to work day and night for those beliefs.
A proud member of Local Union UFCW 1996, I haven't always been a politician. In fact, as a city council member I really don't even consider myself to be a politician. But the principles, beliefs and commitment to service that I bring to my duties as a Smyrna City Council member were first instilled in me as a little girl growing up in Fairbanks, Alaska. My personal principles are grounded in three things - Faith, Family, and Friendship.
These principles have guided me through the years, through good times and bad. I was raised in a military family, born in Frankfurt Germany, and grew up and went to high school in Fairbanks Alaska. As the daughter of a military veteran, I was taught the values of hard work, patience, inner strength, love of country and the gift of service. At an early age, I developed a passion for music and it presented me with a number of amazing opportunities. My experience as a singer gave me poise and taught me the value of building long lasting relationships and friendships. My passion for music and singing as a teenager gave me confidence and inspired me to run for and win Miss Alaska, beating a young lady named Sarah Palin.
I went on to graduate from Evergreen State College in Olympia Washington with a degree in Business Administration/Management. All of these early experiences provided me with the foundation that I would draw upon later in life when I decided to run for political office. As I grew and matured I realized that simply living by my principles wasn't enough. I recognized that’s what brings me the greatest satisfaction, happiness and sense of fulfillment is applying those principles to help others, giving back and fighting for those beliefs. And so, I decided to be more involved in our city’s government.
Throughout my career, singing has brought me many unforgettable opportunities. In addition to having two songs on the Grammy Nominating Ballot, I had the distinct honor of traveling the world with the Department of Defense and the USO, entertaining our troops all over the world. I went on to find and serve as CEO for the acclaimed non-profit organization, Divas with a Cause. I have also found great satisfaction in volunteering for the National Kidney Foundation, Atlanta Habitat for Humanity and Life Link.
My political life began when I decided to run for Georgia State House seat District 34 in 2010. I had never run for political office. We fought hard and shocked the establishment by coming within 100 votes of unseating a longtime incumbent. Needless to say I was devastated; not so much for me, but for the people who worked so hard with me to try and make a difference. I learned many valuable lessons during that campaign, and I continue to apply them to this day as I look for more ways to be engaged and give back to our community.
In 2013, I was asked and accepted a position on the Smyrna Public Safety Commission and later also served on the Smyrna Vision Committee to lay out our city’s vision and principles to guide Smyrna's future. We accomplished a great deal; but there continues to be more to do. I had been a resident of Smyrna for 17 years when in 2017 the opportunity presented itself to run for Smyrna City Council. And the rest as they say, literally, is history. Much like my personal principles that have guided me throughout my life, as your Smyrna City Council member I have developed a set of professional principles that guide me every day as I make decisions affecting the lives of our residents...
Thank you for taking time to learn a little more about my story. I am asking for your support and for your vote as I run for re-election to be your representative for Ward 3 on Smyrna City Council. I hope you’ll join me so we can keep moving forward, together.