Canton City Councilor, Ward 3
What is your main responsibility?
I was elected to Canton City Council in November 2019 and took office in January 2020. I also am currently serving as mayor pro tem, which means I take on the role of mayor if Mayor Bill Grant is absent. The technical answer is a councilor’s role is setting fiscal and administrative policy for the city. We establish local law and policies through ordinances and resolutions.
The more fun answer is we set goals and guide the city on initiatives for items such as parks and recreation, housing solutions, cultural arts and more. The current council team and mayor have done that by getting resident feedback and creating the Canton Roadmap for Success, which shares what projects we are working on as a city and how we can bring them to completion.
What do you like most about your role?
How well the current council works together. Collaborating and adjusting when we don’t see eye to eye is a great part of this role. I think we are a strong example that group work and government work don’t have to be torture.
What I love about the Canton community as a whole is, for the most part, its open-mindedness and welcoming spirit. Want to be involved? Come on! Want to attend a meeting? You’re always invited. Have an idea or question? Share it!
What is your background?
I graduated from Queens College (now University) in Charlotte, North Carolina, with a double major in English and communications. I’ve been writing and editing ever since (uh, 20-plus years if we must count) for consumer and trade publications mostly. I love editing and proofreading!
What does public art mean to you?
Public art is important to me, because public art is an economic development initiative that’s super effective, achievable and is high-energy. Public art serves to bring people together – often in ways they wouldn’t normally be together. Public art shines a light on a city’s best features, builds pride, creates destinations, enhances landscape and so much more. Additionally, a solid public art program lays the foundation for a successful and broader cultural arts program in a city.
An artist named Janet Echelman says that public art is a team sport, and I love that. So many players are contributing to a process that is filled with potential and never really finished.
What projects are you looking forward to?
The Boling Park basketball court mural has been underway since last fall. Unfortunately, our extraordinarily wet weather has made its completion difficult. Now that drier weather has arrived, this incredible project – a collaboration with nonprofit Art in the Paint, Cherokee High School student Emily Hamilton and local artist/Canton Cultural Arts Commission member Rob Walker-Bunda – will be wrapped up soon. Join us for the ribbon cutting on June 14 at 5 p.m.
In 2024, Canton’s historic Sunnyside community will see a large-scale mural installation overlooking Harmon Park. The mural project coincides with the significant renovation to Harmon Park – a much-needed project meant to ensure the park is serving residents in the best ways possible.
I’m also thrilled that our Public Art Master Plan should be adopted by the council before the end of this summer. The plan, through the firm Designing Local, paves the way for the city and the Cultural Arts Commission to consistently build a public art program that focuses on placemaking and community engagement.
We also should see the launch of Canton’s destination marketing website – the lead into a focus on reaching a regional audience, to share with them Canton’s offerings in dining/entertainment, arts and outdoor recreation.
What are your goals?
Personally, my goals are to parent two teenagers well, while maintaining some level of sanity and emotional maturity. (I have a rising freshman and a rising senior.)
As a city councilor, my goals are to be a good listener and to strive to see situations from various points of view. As a female in what has traditionally been a male’s role, I’d add that an ongoing goal is always to work to be an example of a direct and supportive woman.
How do you like to spend free time?
My busy teens are into track and guitar, so my free time involves supporting them and their goals. We recently became boat people, thanks to my husband of 23 years, and spend time on the lake. I have a solid support system of friends; we try to connect whenever we can. And our rescue dog, Rooster, always needs a piece of my free time, too!