Ellen Smith for Oak Ridge Rotating Header Image

On “the trail” again

I’m on the campaign trail again, running for re-election to Oak Ridge City Council. The city election is on the November 6 ballot, but early voting starts October 17, and people are starting to get seriously interested in the city election.The League of Women Voters is conducting a candidates forum on October 2 and Democracy for East Tennessee will hold another forum on October 9.

Much has changed in the 5+ years since I was elected…

Happily, I’ve met a number of people who are new to town in the last 5 years. I’m also very aware of the loss of many good people from our community and my personal life.

The economy tanked in 2008. Oak Ridge didn’t fare nearly as badly as many areas, and the community benefited from a Recovery Act projects at the local DOE facilities as well as in the community. City government has put off  addressing some deferred needs in order to avoid over-burdening our taxpayers.

A charter change in 2010 resulted in my term of office being extended by 17 months (it was originally supposed to end in June 2011).

City Council hired a new city manager. Several other key city personnel have retired or moved on, and have been replaced.

The Oak Ridge City Center (former Oak Ridge Mall) is looking even less viable now than it did 5 years ago, but the city is seeing new commercial vitality at Jackson Square and the Woodland Town Center development, and there’s a new Kroger Marketplace development on the horizon.

The city has been challenged by an EPA administrative order that requires big expenditures on our wastewater system.

The Knoxville metropolitan region, of which Oak Ridge is a significant element, is working together more than it did before.

… I could go on and on. I also could list some things that haven’t changed nearly as much as I would have wanted. I’ve appreciated the opportunity to serve my city as part of its elected citizen leadership for these 5 years, and I’m ready and willing to continue to address the city’s needs and challenges for another 4 years, if the voters are willing.

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