Happy Monday, my fellow civic-minded Birmingham readers. Today it’s District 3 incumbent Valerie Abbott’s turn to answer Bham Now’s candidate questionnaire.
Don’t forget to check out our all-in-one Voter’s Guide! It includes all the information you need to know about the upcoming August 22 city election, as well as the August 15 Senate election.
You’ll find links to all of our candidate interviews, directions on how to find your district, along with absentee and registration information. We’ve also included links to upcoming candidate events.
Stay informed, my fellow Bham Nowers, and for Vulcan’s sake get out there and vote!
FYI: District 3 Debate
A District 3 debate will take place on August 14 at Highlands United Methodist Church from 6 to 9 PM. Here’s the link to the event.
When did you officially announce your candidacy and where/how did you do it?
“I have simply announced my candidacy at neighborhood association meetings throughout District 3. I did not have a formal press conference or anything like that. I suppose that I’m too low-key to be a very good politician!”
What is the name of your principal campaign committee?
“Friends of Valerie Abbott.”
Why do you want to run for Birmingham City Council?
“I am running again because my constituents have enthusiastically encouraged me to do so—District 3 has issues that need to continue to be addressed, such as street paving, sidewalk repairs and park improvements, and the residents want a person who is dedicated to the job and who will stay on top of questionable and/or wasteful spending and projects.
“Also, the World Games are coming to Birmingham in 2021, and I am a vocal advocate of being fully prepared for them so that when Birmingham is showcased before the world, it is all positive!”
What is your background, education and experience?
“I attended Birmingham, Homewood and Jefferson County schools, including Shades Valley HS. I have a bachelor’s from Auburn University’s School of Architecture & Fine Arts and a Master of Public & Private Management (graduate degree) from Birmingham-Southern.
“I have worked for AT&T in a variety of management positions for 43 years. I was a neighborhood association officer in the Glen Iris NA for nearly 18 years.
“All of this experience has given me a good idea of the problems and issues that affect neighborhoods, the conflicts between residential interests and business interests in the city—and what can be done to resolve those conflicts.
How have you fostered a healthy, working relationship between the mayor’s office and the Birmingham City Council/city hall?
“Although there are several council members who constantly bicker with the mayor, I have found that the personal approach works best and that is to request a meeting with Mayor Bell to discuss important issues whenever necessary.
“I have found the mayor to be very reasonable when approached in a respectful manner. We do not always agree, but our relationship has never been damaged by disagreement and the lines of communication are always open.”
How will you accomplish transparency with the residents of Birmingham, if re-elected?
“I attend the neighborhood association meetings in my district every month and whenever invited for special meetings and events.
“At these meetings, I share pertinent information regarding community projects, the city budget and other issues of interest to particular neighborhoods. Our office believes that knowledge is power and that residents should be given that power and kept informed.
“We email information we receive to all of the district’s neighborhood officers so that they can share information with residents as soon as it is available.”