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Libby City Council candidate: Vicky Lawrence

| October 22, 2009 12:00 AM

Editor's Note: The Western News submitted a series of questions to candidates in the Libby City Council election. This candidate is vying for one of three available full-term seats.

Describe yourself.

I am a hard worker with good leadership skills. My varied interests provide opportunities for volunteer work: Women’s Help Line, AFS exchange program, Nordicfest, music events, Tree City USA, church programs. I graduated cum laude from Auburn University. I have always been interested in both national and world events. I read extensively to stay informed. I cherish my family, my country and my Christian faith, and I am concerned about the challenges facing our community.

What is your present occupation?

I am a housewife who also teaches piano privately, substitute teaches in the public schools and volunteers in many aspects of community life.

Why are you running in this election?

I am seeking election to the city council because I think I am a person who can make a difference.

Libby has faced many challenges in recent years – decimation of our timber industry, economic decline, shrinking school enrollment and unfavorable national attention to our serious asbestos contamination and related human deaths.

I want to be part of a city council which actively seeks new ideas for Libby’s future, positive ideas that consider the needs of our youth, our working families and our seniors. We can be the “Best Town in The West.” Why should we settle for less?

What should be the city’s top three priorities?

Set long-term goals and develop a plan to implement them. Goals should include:

1. Cheaper water rates. Pay off water purification plant loan.

2. New city-wide water and sewer lines.

3. New sources of city income (not taxes) to meet present and future needs. “Green” energy sources a possibility?

What has been the present council’s biggest achievement?

The council’s biggest achievement is the supporting of various beautification projects such as the Mineral Avenue Streetscape Project, the Fred Brown Pavilion and future Riverside Park, as well as Tree City USA projects throughout town.

City beautification helps to attract businesses and professionals to our community. It is a clear statement that we care about our future, which then generates a sense of pride among community members.

A local newspaper recently quoted a Libby teenager’s opinion of the Mineral Avenue Project. She said it used to be a grungy hangout for kids, but now it looks like it belongs to the entire community. Exactly!

What has been the present council’s biggest weakness?

There is an inherent weakness in our form of local government – council members are basically volunteers who work full time in other professions and do not have unlimited hours to work on city projects. Council members, therefore, must be very committed to find time to prepare for council meetings, to participate in committee work, and to actively move on agenda items that could be easily postponed. All items of business should be discussed at council meetings. Decisions should be made in public. Council members should be respectful of their responsibility to serve the community and not their personal agendas.

What do you love most about Libby?

Libby is a beautiful place to live. But for me, Libby is really about the wonderful people who have built and sustained it, in good and bad times, with a rich heritage of strength and courage. I may dislike the long winters, but I love the people who live here.