Milton Councilwoman Karen Thurman says she welcomes the showdown with challenger Bernard Wolff. To her benefit, so does Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood.
“I’m kicking off my campaign next week and we are getting geared up to mount a very vigorous and spirited re-election effort,” Thurman said. “The stakes are high.” Thurman says she is taking her challenge, and the race “very seriously.”
Thurman is launching her campaign on Tuesday night with a kick-off party at the Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub, which is owned in part by Milton political icon Ron Wallace, who supports Thurman’s re-election bid.
Lockwood, an enthusiastic Thurman supporter, says her financial acumen and sound judgment are critical to Milton’s future advancement. “Karen brings a wealth of financial experience and an astute knowledge of zoning to our government team,” said Lockwood. “She understands the delicate balance between financial stability and maintaining our rural culture, which defines our city,” Lockwood pronounced.
JULIE AND BERNIE
Wolff, who was personally recruited by Councilwoman Julie Zahner-Bailey, is still working on his campaign apparatus, and is late getting out of the gate.
Thurman wasted no time in defining her opponent. “He says that we are not living up to our promises,” she said. “What promises are those?” she asked. “I’m running on my record, not [hyperbole],” Thurman added.
Wolff has promised to slow Milton’s growth down, and prefers to reduce services to balance Milton’s budget, rather than grow commerce to add tax revenue.
But Thurman said that’s fuzzy math. “We can’t balance our budget now,” Thurman charged. “I challenge my opponent to come forward with a financial plan that supports his position.”
Wolff said last week his team is in the midst of getting the details of his policy platform nailed down, and indicated they would be available for public consumption soon.
Thurman, in a veiled dig at her arch political enemy Zahner-Bailey, fired this opening salvo: “Some people think saying ‘no’ is the answer to everything.”
The one-term incumbent, who ran un-opposed in her first election bid, said her vision for Milton goes well beyond knee-jerk politics.
“We need to find and maintain the delicate balance of considering commercial development that can provide us with the resources we need to be financially viable while working tightly within our design guidelines and strictly following our master plan,” Thurman asserted.
“Maintaining this sensitive balance provides us with the resources we need to bring our community together. It gives us the financial leeway to invest in passive and active parks, to add bike, hike and equestrian trails and to perhaps add a community center where we can gain [fellowship] with our friends and neighbors, where people can walk together and children can play together,” Thurman maintained.
“We will always be rural. I hope we can make Milton a city with a soul,” Thurman concluded. “That is what I hope my [legacy] will be.”
For now, at least, Thurman has defined the debate in this race.