Tucker, GA — It was a gut feeling, said Virginia Rece, when asked how she decided to run for her friend Bill Rosenfeld’s position on Tucker City Council. Rece was a close friend to Rosenfeld; she ran his re-election campaign in 2019, and they both lived in Smoke Rise.
Rece said it was a conversation with Carmen, Rosenfeld’s wife, that gave her the extra push to run.
“[Carmen] said, ‘You know, Virginia, Bill really wanted you to run.’ I was kind of already there, but at that point there was no doubt in my mind. The only thing holding me back was my comfort zone. I knew I could do the job. I had already done so much in the community. It’s part of who I am to plant flowers wherever I am,” said Rece, who is 55, married and has two teenagers.
Rece has been a Tucker resident since 2003, first volunteering with Smoke Rise Elementary School Foundation to improve the building conditions. By the time she joined Smoke Rise Civic Association in 2010, Rece had established relationships with local leaders and elected officials. She was assigned to a committee that tackled community safety and government relations. She also led a group to explore Tucker’s mission to become a city.
“We talked to people in the community, tried to get as much public opinion as possible, went to a lot of meetings and we ultimately supported, as a board, the city of Tucker,” she said.
Rece grew up in Dalton, Ga., which is closer to Chattanooga, Tenn., than downtown Atlanta. Her Episcopalian upbringing, she said, led her to believe that every person deserves respect and dignity regardless of race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.
After starting at the University of Georgia, she transferred to Georgia State University to major in hospitality and working to pay for school. A promising job lured her away to South Georgia, but after a year she returned to the area.
“I came home, pretty disillusioned. It was a period in my life where, I call it my 20-something crisis,” Rece said, recalling how tired and burned out she felt.
For the next decade, Rece worked for very little money singing for bands, traveling the East Coast, living out of her car and trying to land a record deal. She was married with a newborn when she started Platinum – the high-energy, dance band she still manages and sings with today.
She said she’s running on three issues: Transparency in government, quality economic growth and community safety. Her opponent is Shawn Woods.
When asked about the city’s urban camping ordinance, Rece said she was “not entirely happy” with the ordinance. Rece said homelessness in DeKalb County has increased, an evictions ban is about to lift, and the county’s nine shelters are bursting at the seams.
“This was a band-aid, but it’s by no means going to solve any issues,” said Rece, who wants to work on a comprehensive, long term plan with experts and surrounding towns. “I am a big believer that you put experts in the room, and you listen.”
Rece is also a proponent of being a good steward of taxpayers’ money. When it comes to taking over stormwater and roads from DeKalb County, she wants to wait. She called Tucker’s aging infrastructure “a behemoth of an issue to deal with.”
Rece plans to kick off her campaign with a family event on July 25. A location has not been finalized.
“I believe very passionately in public service. I plan to work very hard for all Tucker residents, to give everyone a chance to thrive, prosper and enjoy happy lives,” she said.
Candidates who have announced a run this year are:
– Imani Barnes, candidate for District 2, Post 1
– Cara Schroeder, candidate for District 2, Post 1
– Shawn Woods, candidate for District 1, Post 2
– Virginia Reece, candidate for District 1, Post 2
– Roger Orlando, candidate for District 1, Post 1
The seats on the ballot this year are:
– Mayor, post currently held by Frank Auman
– District 1 Post 1, currently held by Pat Soltys
– District 2 Post 1, currently held by Matt Robbins
– District 3 Post 1, currently held by Michelle Penkava
– District 1, Post 2 is vacant and was held by the late Bill Rosenfeld
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