Jeannine James announces mayoral candidacy in La Plata
Town of La Plata resident Jeannine James announced her mayoral campaign last week for the May 2017 election, and she is looking to gain support early.
James announced her candidacy at a La Plata Business Association membership meeting. The Town of La Plata’s current mayor, Roy G. Hale, has served since 2008: one of the longest terms in La Plata’s history. But according to the business association, James’ political and campaign experience with other political figures demonstrate what it takes to lead the business owners and residents of the town.
“I love this town and I want to make it a place you visit and not just some place that you drive though,” James said. “I have a degree in political science and served on various committees, so I said it’s time to start rising to the top. I feel that with my experience and leadership skills, I can make a difference in La Plata. I know how important it is to have the local government work closely with the small business community, and that’s what I really wanted to focus on.”
The La Plata Business Association members expressed their excitement to work with someone who has interests aligned with those of town residents and business owners. They describe James as the kind of leader who will walk La Plata to get a “boots-on-the-ground” perspective and a feel for the real issues.
“Her energy welcomes
change and I think she has a different perspective on what we currently have going on in the community,” said Keith Grasso, president of the La Plata Business Association. “She’s taken an interest in the growth of the town and I think her communication skills and people skills make her a good candidate. We know she will take a look at the current issues that the business community faces such as the sign code, the revitalization of our downtown area, things like working with [the] State Highway [Administration] to slow traffic through our main street and really turn it into a main street.”
The business associa- tion expressed the need for the town leadership to change and evolve with the times. They would like a candidate who would be proactive in bringing people into the town, and believe James would serve well in the position.
“One of the biggest things is the leadership, community at-large and the business community all being on the same page,” James said. “We all have the same goals right now and I think everybody being on the same page with the same vision would be a great start.”
James has been a res- ident of La Plata for the past 15 years and lives with her husband, Tom, and their three children. Currently she is an adjunct communications professor at College of Southern Maryland and a substitute teacher. She said her expertise in communications, budgets, accountability and business ownership sets her apart from currently-seated council members.
“She is looking at things with fresh eyes and sitting on the council for so long, sometimes means you don’t don’t have the same perspective that other folks have,” Grasso said.
James wants to help La Plata grow and make it a walkable community. She said she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty and has has already proved that her business savvy and political knowledge combined will benefit business owners and local residents.
“One of the things that I have been working on with the La Plata Business Association is getting a sign map that reads ‘ Welcome to La Plata,’ and it would have a map of all of the businesses and amenities in downtown La Plata,” James said. “We’ve got the approval, so that should be erected in the next couple of months. What that does is foster the vision of making it a walkable community and help small businesses grow and prosper here in La Plata.”
James emphasized her willingness to listen to residents and business owners. She also said she admires how Brandon Paulin, mayor of the Town of Indian Head, and Daniel W. Burris, mayor of Leonardtown, have been shaking up the status quo in their towns. She plans to connect with them to discuss how each town can flourish together.
“I want to deliver a positive message of unity during this campaign,” James said. “I believe that a government should be a service for the people and this should be accomplished in an open, honest, transparent and above-board manner. By the time that I’m done, I want to put La Plata on the map for the things that we have to offer, such as eating at our local restaurants and shopping at our local businesses. It’s not going to be easy and it’s not a job that should be taken lightly.”