Meet Your Candidate: Carol Voisin
In our last issue, we published a profile of Ashland’s incumbent mayor. In this issue, we catch up with current City Councilmember and mayoral challenger Carol Voisin.
Rogue Valley Messenger: After eight years as a council member, what do you feel is your biggest achievement so far?
Carol Voisin: My consistent achievement has been to assist dozens of citizens in their efforts to effect city policy, especially policy they felt would directly impact their quality of life. Whether I agreed with them or not, I ushered them through the process, worked to keep them informed, and helped them be heard by elected officials. I view this as something a mayor should do, as well. More specifically, I fought against locating ODOTs Visitors Center next to the Oak Knoll residential neighborhood and helped citizens put forward their concerns regarding the Normal Neighborhood Master Plan. I consistently opposed the 9-year, $500,000+ cost to the city for the Ashland Gun Club.
RVM: Why not run for council member again? Why are you challenging the mayor?
CV: Eight years is long enough for one person to serve―as president or mayor or city councilor. The mayor has had eight years to accomplish his goals for Ashland, and I feel that is long enough. I have a different vision for where our city should go in the next four years. We need to move forward more aggressively to address climate change and manage our growth including water and resource use and delivery. We must do more than give lip service to affordable housing initiatives so that living here is possible for young people. I want to endow the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, for example. The mayor is the CEO of the city; she sets the tone and creates the culture in which things get done. The culture I’m aiming for is one of openness, critical thinking, and inclusiveness in policy-making. I feel we need a more transparent city government, one that communicates more effectively with citizens.
I will bring a more interactive and progressive approach to the job of mayor, offer a less defensive management style, and summon a broader range of points of view. My approach will be based on active listening principles and responsiveness. We must go beyond where we are and I’m ready to lead us into a future that invites citizens’ voices into their city’s governing.
RVM: Can you pay a compliment to the mayor?
CV: I respect John. He brings a different style to his job than I would bring, but it has produced some positive results for Ashland. We worked together successfully on the Ashland Forestry Resiliency project.
RVM: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the City of Ashland in the next four years?
CV: Prudent use of taxpayer money and prioritizing essential projects are both critical.
RVM: What makes politics in Ashland unique/special/challenging?
CV: It is what makes Ashland unique, special and challenging―the people. We have a highly educated and professionally experienced population with a lot of good ideas. I will reach out and bring that experience into our process to achieve the best possible policy outcomes.
RVM: What three adjectives would you use to describe the current council, and what do you want to change about that?
CV: Status quo-oriented; group thinkers; avoiding controversy. I’ll leave it to the voters to make the change.
RVM: Favorite TV character?
CV: “Madam Secretary.”
RVM: Favorite drink?