Candidate Q&A: Susie Keck and Chris Smith
The News: What does being a council member mean to you?
Keck: Being a council member means listening to, representing and serving all of the people of the City of Covington. It means protecting the interests of the community and not bending to special interest groups. It means creating controlled growth opportunities for new and existing businesses, and preserving the small-town atmosphere and sense of community we all love. It means empowering our citizens through job training and job opportunities. These things only happen through open communication with our citizens, involving them in decision-making, and being transparent and accountable to them. I would be both humbled and proud to have the opportunity to represent the interests of all of our citizens as a Covington City Council member. Smith: It means being a friend to the taxpayer. While on the council I have consistently fought to keep taxes from increasing, we have taken a roll back rate and reduced the millage since I have been elected. I have stood beside our public safety and assured them that they have 100 percent support from me. I have listened to the people, done my homework and done my very best to make good informed decisions. The News: With recent discussion in the city revolving around proposed alcohol ordinances, if the topic is revisited will you vote for it or against it? What lead you to make that decision?
Keck: As previously presented, the ordinance was largely misunderstood due to an abundance of misinformation. I acknowledge that the alcohol ordinance, as currently written, is a bone of contention among many residents. The language needs - tion is not concerned with having "too much alcohol" on the square, but rather about having appropriate measures to control and enforce a hospitality ordinance. The businesses affected will not be selling alcohol. Wild Art could host parties with patrons being allowed to bring a bottle of wine "brown bag" to share while painting. Boutiques on the square might offer a mimosa or other alcoholic beverage to patrons attending a preview of a new collection or other special event. Hair and nail salons could offer a hospitality beverage to patrons receiving a service. These businesses would not be selling alcohol; they would be providing a hospitality service to their clients. The amount allowed would be small and controlled. This practice is common in other cities, both large and small, and takes place without incident. Enacting a wellcrafted ordinance would bring people together, strengthen our local economy, encourage people to shop locally rather than online, and support the businesses and families that have invested in our community. Smith: I did my job, which was to listen to the people I represent. I heard overwhelmingly that people do not like this proposed ordinance. A
constituent of mine actually had a petition of more than 400 people that live in Covington/Newton County who were against this ordinance. So I did what I felt was right for the city, the issue was discussed extensively now we need to move on to other important issues facing the city. The News: Where do you see the City of Covington in four years? If elected, what are your goals for the four Keck: As a mother and a grandmother, I have a passion to make Covington the place where our children can make a good life for themselves, raise a family and live/work/ play in a close-knit community that embraces the past – while always welcoming the future.
As a Covington City Council member, I will dedicate myself to bringing controlled growth to our community. As I listen to residents, I hear their desire for better choices for grocery, retail and wholesale shopping. I will work to bring more of these amenities to Covington.
I will work to reduce poverty and improve our economy by creating new jobs. With new jobs comes the need for training, for transportation to training centers and jobs, and for child care. I pledge to work with existing and new businesses to enlist their support and involvement in helping to
- tect our residents. I also pledge to work with these departments to identify their needs and see that their needs are met.
In four years, I see a strong, safe, and thriving City of Covington that has maintained its sense of small-town community. Smith: I see Covington continuing to be a big player in the state. I want us to grow through industry, commer- cial and housing while working hard to increase our per capita. I would like to see Central Park be successful, along with other parks in town. Also I will pledge to continue to support our public safety by continuing to add additional police officers per the Chief ’s request, Have the best firefighting equipment for our men, and 911 with the latest technology available. I have done that for the past eight years, and will continue to do so if you the voters see fit. The News: How can city residents reach you if they have more questions?
Keck: I represent “A New Brand of Politics.” I am accessible and I want to hear what people have to say. I can be reached through my Facebook page, Susie Keck for Covington, email: Susie@KeckforCov.com or phone 678-792-8955.
Smith: I can be reached on my cell at 770-560-2903 or via email at email@example.com. It has been my pleasure and honor to serve you these past eight years, and look forward to four more. I ask for your support and reelect me Chris Smith Nov. 7.