Runoff candidates speak at forum
MADISON – In its final special meeting for Madison’s municipal election, the Tennessee Valley Republican Club sponsored the Runoff Candidates Forum on Sept. 10.
For District 1 on Madison City Council, James Ross and Maura Wroblewski detailed their platforms. District 7 council candidate John Seifert also spoke. Lena Sledge, another candidate for District 7, did not attend.
The forum was held at Best Western Plus in Madison.
Wroblewski, who attended all three TVRC forums, grew up in a military family; her father was a Navy commander. Residents since 1999, she and husband Ron have three children who attended West Madison Elementary, Liberty Middle School and Bob Jones High schools.
“By the time the runoff election is here, I will have knocked on every door (in District 1) three times,” Wroblewski said.
“Priority One is getting our school money back from Limestone County. It is past time … The crown jewel of Madison is our school system. We need to (negotiate) in the board room and not the court room; only lawyers win then,” Wroblewski said.
Wroblewski wants sidewalks bordering the District 7’s perimeter. “We also need major road improvements,” particularly for Wall Triana and Balch and Brown’s Ferry roads she said.
She is advocating for a no-kill, foster-driver animal shelter built by private donations. “If we got out now when an animal is hit, we have no place to take the animal for safety,” Wroblewski said.
Candidate James Ross retired from the U.S. Army in 2015. He now leads the local office for TMC Design Corporation. He and wife Ashley have three children currently in Madison City Schools.
“I serve on three local boards of directors, one national board and as consultant to U.S. War College,” Ross said.
His focus will involve improved school funding and “to have smart expansion. We need to tie in commercial and retail development to construction of new houses,” Ross said.
Citing the need for sidewalks, Ross said, “You can’t walk to Kroger. Apartment complexes along Wall Triana are without sidewalks. District 1’s entire perimeter has 100 meters of sidewalk.”
Either the current or new council must decide about Madison Recreation Center. “We can’t continue kicking the can down the road. (The city) has broken faith with the swimming community to build the pool,” Ross said.
“I have no doubt that I can work with Mayor Paul Finley and the council members. Only with a council unified with each other and the mayor can the city move forward,” Ross said. “I have proven leadership and turn strategic vision into action.”
Running in District 7, Seifert moved to Huntsville in 2002 and to Madison in 2004. His wife Heather teaches at Rainbow Elementary School.
The Seiferts have a seven-year-old son. “I want to show (my son) how to step up and be a part of the solution,” he said. He volunteers as a recereation league coach and co-chairs Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students) at Columbia Elementary School.
“I’m a senior program manager at SAIC,” Seifert said. He plans to apply his engineering degree to help solve problems. Madison’s problems are good because they’re related to growth, he said.
“We need improved funding for schools and (to deal with) overcrowding,” Seifert said. He wants to better Madison’s quality of life and improve walkability in District 7 and overall in Madison.
Madison’s parks and the recreation department need to have priority. “Fourteen years ago, Heather and I got engaged at Palmer Park. It looks the same now as it did then.”
City leaders need to use “smart growth and grow the commercial side.” Also, the city should give police officers and EMTs the tools they need to succed, Seifert said.
“I’m excited after the election,” Seifert said. “It will be fun to get in and see how we can make Madison better. I look forward to the adventure.”