Politics and passionate thinking go hand in hand. And while it may come as a surprise to some with all the freedoms of expression available to us, today is no different than back in 500 B.C. when open-air forums were all the rage in Rome giving citizens a place to publicly discuss political views, civil affairs, and new ideas. To help our community members engage in versed conversation and make informed choices in the upcoming election, we asked candidates running for important local seats on November 2, 2021 to participate in this year’s FIRST & 42 Forum. Keeping things fair and unbiased, we asked every candidate running for the same position to respond to the same questions. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing the given answers of those who responded as we get them in. Today, Tammy Cooper is helping us kick things off.
Equipped with a knowledge of government and background in banking/financial services, Tammy Cooper is seeking the position of Commissioner in the City of Parchment. Tammy’s candidacy is motivated by concerns for “the future of the PFAS contamination site, role of the city planning committee in community decisions, negotiating the police contract, increasing tax revenue, and focusing on park activities and maintenance.” As a City Commissioner, Tammy plans to tackle these issues head on by working directly with the city planning committee to promote and address community needs. “We need to be open to input from residents, new and established, so we can grow our community economically while maintaining community interests,” said Tammy. Meet Tammy Cooper.
DISTRICT POSITION REPRESENTS
City of Parchment
WHAT ARE THE TOP ISSUES/CONCERNS THAT MOTIVATE YOU?
I am concerned about the future of the PFAS contamination site, the role of the city planning committee in community decisions, negotiating the police contract, increasing tax revenue, and focusing on park activities and maintenance.
SHARE YOUR PAST EXPERIENCES OR SKILL SETS THAT MAKE YOU A GREAT FIT FOR THIS ROLE.
I have a political science degree and language degree (Spanish). I have knowledge of government, and I have worked in banking/financial services. I have been active in the Parchment water crisis, and I have a strong commitment to the community. I am approachable and willing to listen to resident concerns.
WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THE KALAMAZOO REGION IS THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE AND WORK?
Kalamazoo has a strong sense of community while also having all the benefits of city life. There is a wealth of diversity, bringing the talents of individuals from all backgrounds to government. I am proud to be a resident of Kalamazoo county and a former city resident.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FACING OUR COMMUNITY?
The biggest challenge to our city is how to increase revenue while maintaining our park and dealing with existing problems including ground pollution. I would like to work directly with the planning committee, bring in new businesses, and ensure that our police contract is representative of our community needs.
HOW DO YOU PLAN TO SUPPORT THE GROWTH OF THE ECONOMY IF ELECTED?
I would like to increase zoning to bring in new businesses, work with and support the planning committee with plans to apply for grants to turn the mill property into a nature trail, and promote park maintenance and city cleanup/maintenance to keep the city a desirable place to visit.
HOW WILL YOUR ELECTION IMPACT THE REGION’S WORKFORCE AND COMPANIES WHO CALL SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN HOME?
Parchment is an amazing community. We have the potential to bring in new businesses and jobs while keeping alive the traditions of the city that make our community so special. We can maintain and develop our resources in ways that amplify our strengths and address our weaknesses.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE MEASURES AT THE LOCAL LEVEL?
Diversity is crucial to making our community inclusive and welcoming to visitors and incoming residents. We have an opportunity to grow our community by taking advantage of differing backgrounds and viewpoints to bring new ideas and insights to local government.
OFFER AN EXAMPLE OF WHEN YOU PERSONALLY USED HONESTY AND INTEGRITY TO SOLVE A VITAL ISSUE.
In 2018, our community dealt with the PFAS crisis. I have always been honest that I am not a lifetime resident of Parchment and that I have a lot to learn from existing residents of the city. I want to serve the community in a way that benefits all residents.
HOW CAN ELECTED OFFICIALS CREATE A PLACE WHERE WORKING TOGETHER TOWARDS MEANINGFUL PROGRESS IS THE PRIORITY?
We need to work directly with the city planning committee to promote and address community needs. We need to be open to input from residents, new and established, so we can grow our community economically while maintaining community interests.
IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU PLAN TO CONNECT WITH CONSTITUENTS TO RECEIVE THEIR INPUT?
We have the benefit in Parchment of being able to connect on a face-to-face basis. I would like to promote commission meetings and make the meetings accessible to everyone regardless of age and mobility. I am also happy to discuss issues on an individual basis with residents.