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Get to know the Post 4 candidates

5 contenders talk about their campaign

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ROSWELL, Ga. — Five candidates are gearing up in Roswell to campaign for the vacant Post 4 Roswell City Council seat in the March 21 special election. Shawn Wright, Lori Henry, Marie Willsey, Shelley Sears and Tracy Hanley all qualified to run for the seat.

Post 4 became vacant in fall 2016 when the previous seat-holder Kent Igleheart resigned. He was arrested Oct. 20 by DeKalb County police on charges of sexual exploitation of a minor.

There will be a forum to meet the candidates from 7-9 p.m., Feb. 28, at the Roswell Council Chambers. Questions for the candidates may be submitted in advance at roswellwomansclub.org.

All five candidates responded to the Herald’s questions about their candidacy.

 

SHAWN WRIGHT

Background:

As an Air Force Veteran, I proudly served my country during Operation Provide Comfort. I earned my bachelor’s degree in management studies and MBA from University of Maryland University College. I’ve consistently served in leadership roles for Fortune 500 companies and industry leaders such as Bridgestone, Goodyear, Schneider National Carriers and Excel Logistics.
As a Roswell Youth Baseball Head Coach, I am dedicated to leaving our children a safe and prosperous future in Roswell.
I currently serve as a Regional Director for Elam Ministries, a Christian nonprofit organization serving the underground Iranian church. I live on Lake Charles Drive in Roswell with my wife, Jean (also an Air Force Veteran) and our three school-aged children.
What made you decide to run?
I have served our country and our community my entire life. As a father of five children — one who graduated from Roswell High and three who attend Roswell Public Schools — I constantly find myself thinking about the kind of future I'd like to leave them here in Roswell. We live in a very divided city, and our internal divisions are keeping us from moving forward. I'd like to be that unifying voice at City Council who can build bridges between our various factions and work towards a common goal – a brighter future for our children.
What do you think are the key issues for this race?
There are a wide range of issues that our next city councilmember will need to tackle. These include positively uniting a divided Roswell, honoring our veterans, protecting our green space, protecting Roswell against imbalanced and unsustainable growth and finding solutions for our transportation challenges.
If elected, what are some of the first issues or projects that you plan to tackle?
As city councilman, I will have four main priorities:

  • Uniting Roswell and bring together community leaders who represent differing parts of Roswell to build consensus that serves the needs of our city as a whole for now and 25 years from now.
  • Enhancing both the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the World War II Veterans Memorial while protecting our green space.
  • Developing Roswell’s tax base through thoughtful commercial and residential re-development with the requirement of maintaining our history, protecting our green space and preserving the livability of Roswell’s neighborhoods for our families, millennials, seniors and children.
  • Working with transportation experts to adopt smart, balanced 21st Century solutions to Roswell's traffic concerns.

Website: WrightForRoswell.com

 

LORI HENRY

Background:

I am a small business owner and long-time resident of Roswell, with deep roots on both the East and West sides of Roswell. My husband Karl and I raised our daughter Scottie within walking distance of the Historic District; my parents lived in Martin’s Landing for over 35 years. My experience gives me a unique perspective and ability to unite our residents. I was honored to serve on Roswell’s City Council for eight years. I am a graduate of Ohio State University and began my career as a Cobb County public school teacher.

What made you decide to run?

The issues that are facing the city, like redevelopment of our commercial and retail space, and my experience in crafting solutions to similar issues. I made a positive impact when I served on City Council, and believe that I can help with the new direction that voters chose in November of 2015. It’s the same direction I championed in my prior service.

What do you think are the key issues for this race?

The issues are economic redevelopment particularly in our blighted strip malls, fixing our zoning code, the Unified Development Code, and of course, traffic. The new members of council have made some positive impact, and I want to continue the work – finish the job voters started.

If elected, what are some of the first issues or projects that you plan to tackle?

We need to shape our zoning to incent owners of commercial spaces to attract Class A offices and create destination places. This is a citywide need, but is particularly pressing right now in East Roswell. I want a team to tackle the thoughtful revitalization of the Holcomb Bridge corridor with emphasis on economic development, adaptive re-use and sprawl repair within a suburban context.

We need to continue to rehabilitate the UDC – progress has been made over the last year creating protections for our existing neighborhoods, but the progress is fragile and there is still more work to do.

We need to strengthen the preservation ordinance so that we save what makes our Historic District historic. And of course, we need to take a new approach to how we deal with traffic – the challenges of traffic on Holcomb Bridge Road are different than traffic on Jones Road. One size does not fit all.

We are one city but each part is unique. And the many parts creating one give us our strength and character.

Website: lorihenrynow.com

 

MARIE WILLSEY

Background:

My husband Glen and I have been Roswell residents since 1993, first in Martin’s Landing before moving to Horseshoe Bend, where we are raising our son Parker.

I have been the president of the Horseshoe Bend Community Association, was appointed to the Planning Commission and served on the 2035 Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee. I’m also an active board member of the Roswell Arts Fund, and lead marketing efforts for ArtAround Roswell. Since August 2016, I have served as a community representative to the Centennial High School Governance Council.

Owner of a small business specializing in marketing and communications, I am a graduate of the University of Georgia and hold a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

What made you decide to run?

I felt a calling to step up and help unite our city and council. It’s never been more important for our city to have thoughtful, strategic and collaborative leadership. 

As community association president, I’ve worked closely with city staff and our elected officials as an advocate for our neighborhood. Now, I would like to take that experience to the next level and be the advocate that Roswell needs to grow while maintaining the small-town feel that makes us unique.

What do you think are the key issues for this race?

One of the most important issues in this election is supporting and believing in what makes our city great – the neighborhoods, residential character, history and natural resources. That means investing in infrastructure to improve walkability and connectivity, supporting the efforts of our police and fire departments, maintaining and expanding our parks and improving our connection to the river.

At the same time, we also must begin to plan for the future, taking a long-term view of strengthening our business community and providing residential choices to sustain the quality of life that we love. We must evolve to meet the needs of changing demographics and maintain an appropriate level of economic growth. Finding that balance is critical.

If elected, what are some of the first issues or projects that you plan to tackle?

A need for focused redevelopment on our commercial corridors is one of the most crucial issues currently facing the city. If elected, I pledge to work with the city’s economic and community development resources and the business community to pursue redevelopment efforts that are achievable, sustainable and appropriate to Roswell’s character.

Website: marieforroswell.com

 

SHELLEY SEARS

Background:

I’m running as your pro-business candidate. I have lived in Roswell for over 30 years. My children attended Roswell High School and summer camps with the Roswell Recreation Department.

As an owner operator of my own company for 20+ years, I have been involved with the development and growth of Roswell. I have watched neighborhoods develop out of the farmland and forest that once made up the majority of the city, and I believe we need to make sure future developments that will be smart developments to benefit all of Roswell.

I have a wide reputation as a leader in my industry. Roswell and my company are my passions and I honor them with integrity and professionalism.

What made you decide to run?

I love my city, and it is my reason for running. It is my goal to serve Roswell as a strong, intelligent councilwoman with the same conviction and attention to detail as I do in my own business and employees. My tenure as a member of the community for the past 30 years has given me key understandings and insights into the issues that are important to the whole of Roswell.

What do you think are the key issues for this race?

I will tackle, along with my fellow council members, issues relating to traffic, density and government waste in Roswell.

What do you think are the key issues for this race?

I have three goals:

·         Provide service to my community that goes above and beyond what has been set forth in the past. I will use my experience as a business leader to create jobs and support smart business initiatives.

·         Listen to all members of the community to find common ground and work to unify Roswell.

·         Work diligently to build a community of enduring success while striking a balance between the old and new Roswell with smart development.

Website: facebook.com/shelley4roswell or call me directly at 770-777-9000. I do answer my phone!

 

TRACY “TRAY” HANLEY

Background:

I am a small businesswoman with a long history of success. As a child, I grew up in a family that owned and operated an office cleaning business that I took part in to learn the value of hard work. I later got my real estate and brokerage license, starting at PTP, Inc. in 2004.

When the real estate market crashed, I went back to school and graduated in 2012 with a degree in political science. I began working with Roswell Inc, where I focused on working with companies looking to relocate to Roswell and introduced them to the city.

In addition, I have contributed and volunteered my time to our local schools, North Fulton charities, Northpoint Community Church, Daughters of Deliverance and Hope, battered women shelters and the Fulton County Republican Party.

I have three children who I support through all of their activities.

What made you decide to run?

Initially, I was disgusted at the revelation of what the previous city councilman did before resigning. It prompted me to look at what our city council was doing at a granular level, and I began to see the entire city needed a voice on the council that would stop making this an "us versus them" content but serve the entire city.

What do you think are the key issues for this race?

Local traffic is undoubtedly a major issue. We need a redesigned Holcomb Bridge corridor, but more importantly we need to implement important reforms in the way we identify and complete projects using Six Sigma, Lean and other effective tools. This will result in better projects, better oversight, and making sure we actually solve traffic problems.

Another issue is how we manage the growth of our city. There is clear value in maintaining Roswell's unique character; on the same token, we have to be able to focus on creating a foundation for sustained growth if we want to make sure the tax base is diversified enough to maintain needed public services.

If elected, what are some of the first issues or projects that you plan to tackle?

I'd like to make sure that we have a strong access point to Roswell on the east side of the city as well as the west. Another would be to begin building consensus on the City Council for the techniques mentioned above and implementing them in the city's operations.

Website: tracyhanley.com


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