I have 17 years of public service experience in Washington, D.C., working in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. During that time, I gained invaluable knowledge of how municipal, state, and federal governments work together. I worked across party lines with city, state, and federal leaders on numerous initiatives, targeted appropriations, and policies that benefited local municipalities. This would translate well to Forest Acres, where we could seek out funding or other support on state and federal levels. I could also help our city anticipate and understand any impacts from state or federal legislation. I am also well versed in parliamentary procedure, which is the backbone of efficient council meetings.
Additionally, as an employee of a small business that has a strong presence in Forest Acres, I understand firsthand the processes, and sometimes constraints, businesses have in working in our community. I will work with our businesses to ensure they remain competitive without unnecessary red tape and regulation.
Lastly, as a third-generation resident I have a deep understanding of residential concerns and priorities and an appreciation for the many features that make Forest Acres such a desirable place to live.
I am committed to bringing a common-sense approach to City Council and continuing to usher in a new generation of leaders and fresh ideas.
Ensuring local businesses are healthy and have the opportunity to grow. As we begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to listen to our small businesses and ask them how our government can work and support their goals. Additional red tape and paperwork can frustrate a business trying to grow and hire additional employees, and can often lead to a business moving out of a community simply because too much time is being dedicated to new regulations that have been adopted. This includes not only our brick-and-mortar businesses, but the many others who obtain licenses to work in our community. I would like to have a local business roundtable that can work with city council and provide new ideas to enhance our way of life in Forest Acres and assist the council in prioritizing its investments.
Continuing to assist our Forest Acres Police Department. We have an excellent police force and are fortunate to live in one of the safest cities in South Carolina. Over 50% of our annual budget is dedicated to the Police Department, and I want to make sure we continue to provide our officers with the resources they need to protect our community, to include addressing the speeding and crime concerns of our residents. Council and city staff should look for additional opportunities at the state and federal level to provide grants and targeted spending for our men and women in uniform.
Strategic Planning. There is no better time than the present to begin a discussion on what we would like to see our city achieve over the next decade. Basic infrastructure needs will always need to be improved, and the Forest Drive corridor is one area of concern. We also need to find a solution to the Four Paws building the city owns and whether it is feasible to have a small park there maintained by the city. Trenholm Plaza has lost several retailers during the past year and a half and council should find ways to work with the private sector to attract local businesses to that shopping area. I’d also like to see us develop a sustainable solution to the Richland Mall area. As this planning takes shape, our city council should include several constituent groups from the community that represent a wide variety of ideas and proposals.
I’ve mentioned a couple of areas above where I think establishing groups or forums for community representation, or utilizing existing groups, would be beneficial for council’s decision making. During this campaign, I have already knocked on more than 1,000 doors across all of our precincts, with many still to go. I have enjoyed meeting the residents of Forest Acres and have heard some great ideas as I canvass the city. I want to continue these discussions by continuing to walk these same neighborhoods after the election and offer the residents an opportunity to discuss their issues with me in person. I would also continue to utilize social media to share information and solicit feedback and ideas.
I would like to begin by thanking the residents of Forest Acres for electing me their Councilman in the recent Special Election and excited to be campaigning again for the General Election to be held on May 11th.
In regards to the above question, I feel that my skill set and knowledge in commercial real estate will add value to the existing Council dynamic. I am accustomed to overcoming objectives and finding common ground. I also pay close attention to detail and think this skill is important so that a decision today does not have an adverse affect on the future. I feel it's important to understand all sides of an issue and make the best decision based on the information that has been provided.
The three challenges facing Forest Acres City Council today are growth, traffic and public safety.
1) My solution to the first challenge of growth is being smart and deliberate in the decisions we make with development opportunities. We are fortunate to have a great mix of local, regional and national restaurants and retailers in Forest Acres. Local business owners live and invest in our community while national brands choose our sub-market to open their first location. This dynamic mix of businesses makes Forest Acres a desirable city to spend time and resources and I encourage smart growth for our future.
2) The second challenge of traffic is a result of our city being a great place to live but also a corridor to the Central Business District and I-77. There is no silver bullet to address traffic congestion today during peak driving hours but do recommend revisiting the Forest Drive Corridor Study for ideas and solutions on how best to move forward.
3) The final challenge facing Council today is public safety. A few months ago, Forest Acres was named one of the safest cities in South Carolina. This accolade is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the FAPD as well as Council. I include public safety as a challenge because I feel the issues we face as a community today may be different in the future. I recommend we provide FAPD with the research and resources they need to combat issues that may arising in other similar cities so they'll be prepared to address the same issues in our city. I frequently hear speeding is a concern in certain neighborhoods. During my brief time on Council, FAPD has stepped up community patrol and installed radar speed signs on streets where speeding is a problem.
One of the reasons Forest Acres is a great city is because of it's residents. My plan to involve the residents of Forest Acres in the decision making process is to be active on social media and propose we continue using the Zoom platform for Council meetings long after the Pandemic is over.
During the campaign, I have been very active on Facebook and Instagram (@votehaskellkibler) keeping residents up to date on Council agenda items as well as announcements from City Hall. I am also always available to address and listen to questions or concerns by phone (803.238.4688) or email (HHKibler@gmail.com) regarding our city.
I also feel that continuing the Zoom platform for Council meetings will enable residents who are unable to attend meetings in person be engaged with the events facing our city. This platform has worked well this past year and lends a voice that otherwise may not have been heard. The input from our residents is paramount for the identity of Forest Acres and the reason it's a great place to live, work and raise a family.
I have been actively involved in community service with Forest Acres for the past 12 years - 8 years on city council and 4 years on FA planning commission and zoning board of appeals. Having grown up in FA and attended public schools at Crayton & AC Flora, I have long held a deep appreciation for the unique charm of for the "small town" community. My employment experience in commercial banking, real estate development, investment & construction has proven valuable. As a fiscal conservative, my efforts have been to put FA on a sound financial footing, control economic growth, keep neighborhoods safe, and taxes low.
Keeping our streets safe by working to reduce speeding with new speed limit signs and speed humps.
Beautify our city by working to bury utility lines, especially along the Forest Drive corridor.
Establish a Landlord - Tennant Registry so that the City can easily contact property owners in case of a problem.
Keep taxes low by ensuring government runs at maximum efficiency.
Supporting a Hospitality Tax Committee to increase transparency and community input.
Supporting a Beautification Committee for residents, staff & council to exchange ideas to make our city a better place to live & play.
Working with FARMA & FANA to help build a stronger community and better business environment.
Encourage input from the residents & community so that council & staff can better serve - attend council meetings, volunteer for committees, become involved and make your voice heard.
Although I am a relative newcomer to the city, I am no stranger to the state of South Carolina or to public service. I spent four years just up the road in Clinton, SC where I attended Presbyterian College, and three years ago, my husband’s job brought our family back to the state where we purchased a home and laid down roots in Forest Acres.
I wear many hats these days, all of which I take very seriously. I am a busy mother of three, a wife, and a caregiver to my mother-in-law, a committed volunteer, as well as, a marketing professional. I spend the vast majority of my time within a five-mile radius of where I live either shuttling kids to and from school and their various activities or delivering groceries to Atria Senior Living where my mother-in-law lives. If there’s anything this past year has taught me, in the famous words of Rosie the Riveter, is “Yes We Can.” I certainly can’t speak for others, but our family learned to adapt in ways we never thought possible and that we can do whatever we put our minds to doing while making the best of any situation.
You may ask, why do I want to add city council to an already busy dance card? Well, the answer is simple. Not only do I have a vested interest in the success of Forest Acres for my own family, but I also believe Forest Acres needs to diversify its leadership that is currently represented by all white males. More importantly, however, I was raised in a home with a faithful Rotarian who stressed the importance of service above self and doing all you can to better the community where you live. Forest Acres is my home, it’s where we are raising our children, and I want them to see first-hand the importance of public service and diversity of leadership.
I believe my professional background 15- year career marketing professional and a former nonprofit executive director make me uniquely qualified to understand the complexities of city management. Likewise, I can also bring diversity to the council and will serve as a voice for all. As a newly appointed member of the Forest Acres Public Safety Foundation, I am also committed to supporting those who protect our community and to ensuring that Forest Acres creates a hospitable environment where people want to live, and where the best officers want to come work, defend our community values, and are rewarded for upholding their duty to protect and serve.
Having been a regular attendee at Forest Acres city council meetings and having recently been appointed by the city council to serve on the Public Safety Foundation, I have learned a great deal about the challenges facing the city. I have also had the privilege to sit down with the FA City manager on several occasions to gain an even more in depth picture of our city's unique challenges, as well as the city's accomplishments. In addition to trying to understand the city's challenges from the perspective of those actively in leadership, I have also solicited the input from other community stakeholders who have shared their thoughts on what they feel our the most significant challenges. I also live in Forest Acres and have my own thoughts about the challenges I see as a resident, a homeowner, and a taxpaying citizen. In every one of these conversations, there are 3 primary issues that continually rank in the top 3 including: (a) Public Safety - keeping Forest Acres a safe place where families want to live and where all people of all ages, races, sexual orientation and religious backgrounds can live together in peace. And also, keeping our FA Police Force one where the best and the brightest want to serve and protect the values of our community; (b) Economic Development & Infrastructure Investment - Keep Forest Acres on track for successful economic expansion by creating a 5-10 year strategic plan and actively pursuing ways to reinvest funding in infrastructure and zoning projects. Having formerly been a resident of Birmingham, AL and Austin, TX, I’ve seen first-hand what happens when local leadership fails to invest in future planning initiatives to support infrastructure and economic expansion, (c) Diversity of Leadership - at present, the city of FA has 5 white men representing a population of a little more than 10,000. The fact that there is no female representation or diversity of any kind should speak loudly to the community that they might not be looking out for "everyone's" best interest. We need more diverse leadership and opinions to be reflective in the work of the leadership of our city. As a mother of three, I'd certainly like to feel like I have more of a voice, and I want to bring progressive ideas to leadership with consideration of all those who are currently all underrepresented in decisions being made for the public.
I am a strong proponent of survey research and engaging stakeholder input. As a life-long learner, I have spent the vast majority of my professional career (and studied extensively in my Masters in Public Administration Program) doing such research and creating mechanisms to measure and analyze detailed information from public discourse. Whether it was my involvement in the Austin, TX 2010 Complete Count Census Committee or my participation in various capital campaigns with nonprofit organizations (where I served as Executive Director, Director of Development, or an active Board member), I've had the unique opportunity to both conduct and create surveys to collect detailed information that will allow the city to better engage its citizens about how decisions will affect the public and what issues are of most importance to them. I would encourage the city to do a dedicated, large scale survey at least once year to gauge public interest in various decisions being made by leadership. I would also recommend using this information to form a 5-10 year strategic plan for the city -- which currently does not exist.
I also believe it is imperative for local municipalities to have someone in a Public Relations or Communications/Community Outreach position with the city whose sole job is to actively pump out information through the various media outlets, neighborhood groups, online and social media platforms to regularly engage the public's feedback. Likewise, doing so will naturally allow public coalitions to form that will identify people who can be advocates or volunteers in the community that can actively advise leadership to ensure feedback/concerns from the public stakeholders are both sought and heard in decisions that affect everyone.
And finally, I am a very hands on, people person. I am a relationship builder by the nature of who I am as well as how I approach my professional work. Building relationships and coalitions is literally what I do. If elected, I will make it my mission to engage the public for input regularly as I currently don't feel as a FA taxpayer, homeowner, wife, mother and caregiver that I am being represented by the current lack of diversified of leadership of our council -- we need a female voice. I want to be that voice...one that speaks for everyone and someone who can share diversity of thought in meaningful ways, but also someone who is skilled at working with other leaders to get the important work of the public done right and equitably to benefit the most number of people possible.
My background of 30 years in management, event planning, research, audience relations and teaching brings a new and fresh perspective to the Forest Acres City Council. It is this diverse background that landed me on the newly formed Forest Acres Hospitality Tax Committee in June 2020. On this committee, I work with Councilman Tom Andrews and other citizen members to ensure applications are properly submitted for review regarding how funding will benefit Forest Acres. In meetings I have asked hard questions to those applying for Htax money. Along with other committee members I research applicants and proposed projects and if, upon close scrutiny, it is unclear how funds are going to be used we ask the applicant to resubmit. Asking for clarity and seeking transparency are skills I developed in my 30 years as a professional. Municipal government is in action all around you every day, and upcoming projects will require research, creativity, and a balanced fiscal outlook and desire to continually improve Forest Acres these are the skills I will bring to Council.
1. Continued and enhanced transparency and accountability in the budget process and allocation of Hospitality Tax monies: It is critical that the money be used wisely and in a manner that fully discloses those receiving the money, why it has been funded, and how the project will benefit Forest Acres. I am already asking these questions as a member of the Htax committee..
2. Create a community center. We need a center to host programs for seniors and serve as a central gathering place for our neighborhoods: The center would incorporate green spaces and the possibility of a designated dog park while housing Forest Acres artists and a diverse array of visiting artists. This project could also play an integral part in the beautification of Forest Drive.
3. Working with residents to create a designated Dog Park. We have many dog owners in Forest Acres and we need a designated area for owners and pets to enjoy. This is also a real community builder. We have marvelous green spaces already in place but marking one specifically for dogs is a priority to me.
Forest Acres has many ways to be involved but communication is tricky in this day and age but there are solutions:
1). Place QR codes in businesses that link residents to the Forest Acres Website. On the website we can let residents know of committee openings and ask for applicants. The website can provide a description of what the committee does and the time commitment required.
2). Many neighborhoods around us do a newsletter. Of course that does involve a cost but I would imagine FARMA would be happy to support this in return for promotion of Forest Acres businesses. How often would it be published? That would be a decision made by council members in tandem with the Forest Acres City Administration.
3). Promote City Council meetings and encourage the use of ZOOM even when Council can meet in person. I would imagine that people will still be nervous about being in crowds for the next year so broadcasting the meetings will certainly increase participation. Additionally for those who might have mobility or hearing issues ZOOM is a great option.