PORTERDALE - With the resignation of Perry Barnett from the Porterdale City Council earlier this month, Arline Hayes Chapman has decided to throw her name into the mix to fill the vacant Post 3 council seat.
"Ultimately, I thought, well, I've chosen to live here ... I'm going to be here for a long time, and I thought I have some knowledge and experience I could lend to the City Council," she said. "I thought I should give something of myself back to the community that I'm enjoying so much."
Though she has worked for the state in and around politics for the past 16 years, Chapman said this is the first time she has sought a political office herself.
"I've been piddling around politics for sometime, so I'm not really a neophyte," she said.
In her time with the state, Chapman held several positions, including committee secretary in the Georgia House of Representatives, staff member of the Governor's Floor Leaders Office during Zell Miller's administration and executive assistant to Attorney General Thurbert Baker.
As a member of the Porterdale City Council, Chapman said she would like to focus on fiscal responsibility, controlled growth and historic preservation.
"I've been really pleased with what I've seen with the Porterdale City Council and the local government. I've been impressed with it," she said. "I think as a community grows and takes a bigger place in what's going on, fiscal responsibility is something that can always be defined and refined and brought to a better level. I think there are always issues that can be looked at and strengthened."
Chapman also feels that controlling the growth Porterdale is experiencing is important for the city's economic future.
"I think we have a lot of homes here that have developed in the $100,000 to $175,000 range," she said. "Hopefully, when the housing crunch lifts, perhaps we'll have some developers come out here and look at building something more in the $200,000 to $300,000 range so that we have more of a mix economically, which I think will be a boost to our local merchants and to Porterdale."
Chapman, a mother of two grown sons, has lived in The Lofts in the historic mill town for nearly a year and feels that preserving the town's legacy is also important.
"I think we have a wonderful history here and while we're moving forward very rapidly, I think there are a lot of people, myself included, who feel we have to preserve the history of the people that made Porterdale what it is," Chapman said. "I would love to see some space set aside, possibly in the (train) depot that is being renovated, for a history museum ... and I think the importance of doing something like that now is because we have so many people living here who have personal recollections of what it was like to work in the mill and live in a mill town. I think that there are state funds available to do that sort of thing, so I don't think it would be a drain on local government."
Anyone with questions for Chapman can e-mail the committee to elect Arline Hayes Chapman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Qualifying for the special election to fill the vacant council seat will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 7 and 8 and from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Jan. 9 at Porterdale City Hall. The election will be held Feb. 5 with the presidential primary.
Joel Griffin can be reached at email@example.com.