Editor’s note: Three individuals are running for the office of Columbia Township Supervisor. Because of the importance of the role, this website is offering each candidate an opportunity to tell their story in their own words. All three were provided with a the same list of questions, and the paragraph headings indicate the topic of each question.
Two candidates are facing off in the Republican primary, Ray Kuzminski and incumbent Robert Elrod. Terry Mahr is running as an independent, and you will see her name on the ballot only in November’s general election.
Terry Mahr’s article is presented here. These are her words, unedited.
Terry Mahr, Currently living in Village of Brooklyn. Lived in Brooklyn area all my life, in and out of Columbia Township
- Columbia Township Planning Commission Chairperson
- Columbia Township Zoning Board of Appeals Vice Chair
- Brooklyn Village Green Condominium Association President and Treasurer
- Serving on Pre-Selection Committee for Jackson County Teacher of Year Award
A leader in the community
- One of the organizers of the Brooklyn Irish Hills Chamber of Commerce and as its first Executive Director:
- Organized the Irish Hills Tourist Council
- Won one of three Pure Michigan Sesquicentennial grants for $10,000 and secured matching funds from MIS owner Roger Penske to produce Speed Week at MIS
- Grew the organization from 25 original members to 140 in three years
- Established the Citizen of the Year tribute
- Past President and Charter member of Heart of the Lakes Jr. Woman’s Club
- Managed the annual Brooklyn July 4th celebration for 15 years
- Served on Columbia School District Board of Education
- Served on Brooklyn Area Community Chest Board
- Member and Past President of Brooklyn Area Historical Society
- Served on Brooklyn Library Board
- Served on Columbia Education Foundation
- Former member of Kiwanis
- PTO President at Miller Elementary
- Original producer of Arts in the Park
Square Town Shoppe – owner of year round antique and Christmas store
Brookfest – Event Manager and Marketing Director – an outdoor entertainment venue that produced Haunted Woods, car shows, quad races, rodeos and operated a campground open for MIS NASCAR races
Michigan International Speedway – co-managed Champions Club on its opening and for 3 years following
Superstars of Racing – Business Manager – Produced licensed print calendars for NASCAR, National Hot Rod Association, World of Outlaws and Bass Pro
National Trailer Convoy – District Manager – a division of Pepsico –winning national recognition for driver safety awards
City of Jackson – Downtown Development Director
- Managed the inaugural Eve on the Ave celebration
- Initiated re-write of city’s Tax Increment Financing plan
Brooklyn Exponent – Business Manager, feature writer and columnist
Other – Led visioning sessions for development projects: Coral Bay, U.S.Virgin Islands
WHY I’M RUNNING FOR SUPERVISOR
I have been working “inside” government for a few years now. The level of leadership and the quality of decisions made in recent years have been a cause for concern.
In the spring of 2020 businesses learned how to cut overhead with remote work. Health care providers made a massive jump in online appointments. Educators found ways to teach outside of the classroom. One economist says we advanced 10 years in the space of two months in the use of technology in all parts of our daily lives.
I want Columbia Township to offer a quality of life that will attract anyone who is looking for a community in which to settle, raise their children, or start a business. By communicating clearly, taking responsibility, and doing my very best work, you will find I am a thoughtful leader who will represent our township with integrity in a professional manner. Why? Because I live here. My grandchildren live here. Some of my dearest friends in the world live here. Because I care.
COLUMBIA TOWNSHIP’S CHALLENGES AND MY SOLUTIONS
One major challenge is preparing for a new economy based on remote employment, a new lifestyle, new social environment and new education system – all elements of our daily lives. I will use my leadership skills to implement strategic plans that prepare us to meet the demands of the digital-native generation. I will listen to you, use technology to build a strong communication connection with you, and proactively seek to cultivate an exchange of ideas that will benefit Columbia Township going forward.
WHAT ROLE SHOULD OTHER BOARD MEMBERS PLAY
The Supervisor needs to engage individual board members respectfully and offer them the opportunity to serve using their best skill sets. Board members should seek ways to stay ahead of developments by collecting information from stakeholders and sharing with rest of Board.
IMPROVING TOWNSHIP OPERATIONS
Communication among administrative staff, department heads, board members and township residents needs to be improved. Communication is key to productive work.
SEWER PROBLEM – CAN COSTS BE LOWERED?
Not sure at this time. The issue is being studied by the soon to be formed South Central Michigan Utility Authority.
ENFORCING ZONING ORDINANCES – COMPLAINT DRIVEN, PROACTIVE OR SOMETHING ELSE?
Our zoning ordinance has been lawfully adopted and should be consistently applied on a proactive basis.