Tucker, GA — As a newly retired mechanical engineer, Neal Stubblefield, 63, serves as an elder in his church and volunteers with nonprofit organizations including NetWorks and Georgia Agape, a faith-based organization for adoption and foster care.
He is also active with the city of Tucker. In 2015, he knocked on doors to garner support for Tucker becoming a city and he has served on the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals since its inception in 2016. Stubblefield, a 31-year resident of Tucker, is running for District 3, Post 1, currently occupied by outgoing councilmember Michelle Penkava.
Stubblefield attended Georgia Tech, and jokingly said the city council could use a few more yellow jackets to balance out the number of University of Georgia graduates.
He planned after retirement to become more involved in city government, but didn’t expect it to happen so soon. The city’s recent push to end term limits failed at the state legislature, creating open seats on the City Council. Stubblefield said it seemed a good a time as any.
Stubblefield’s family history is steeped in public service. His 94-year-old father is a veteran of both World War II and Korea, and volunteered extensively for his hometown of Sevierville, Tenn. Stubblefield’s paternal grandparents both served as justices in Franklin County, Tenn., and he’s been told his grandmother was the first woman to serve on county court, the forerunner to county commission. His daughter and son-in-law met while working for the city of Charleston, S.C.
He is running on three issues: delivering a high level of service in the city’s core service areas, including parks and recreation, planning and zoning and code enforcement; smart growth and redevelopment; and welcoming those who live and work in Tucker to engage with the city.
“I want people to view Tucker as a place that they can come and spend their whole lives. We want people to feel welcome. We want them to feel integral to what’s happening here,” he said. “I think it’s incumbent upon us who are already in the mix, if you will, to bring others in, to invite others to be involved in making our community all that it can be.”
Asked about the non-discrimination ordinance and Tucker Open Door, Stubblefield said he has reviewed the ordinance but doesn’t have a fully-formed opinion yet. He plans to further study the issue.
“I would like to hear from, and actively go out and solicit input from, parties on all sides, so I can better understand what the issues are and the magnitude of the issues,” he said.
As a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, he sees a push for “streamlining” the look of Tucker to reflect a clean-lined, cohesive city. When residents are proud of the way their town looks, he said, they’ll attract more people.
“You look at the major approaches to Tucker, like along Lawrenceville Highway. Are there ways we can make this area look more inviting, whether it’s for residential or business development,” he asked. “How can we make Tucker the kind of place that will attract people to live their whole lives here?”
Stubblefield is an expert on public works, and is advocating to continue collaborating with DeKalb County public works. He is a water infrastructure engineer and appointee to the DeKalb County 2070 Water and Wastewater Capacity Master Plan. He said DeKalb County does an admirable job at handling emergency situations, despite some residents’ frustration with the day-to-day issues that need to be addressed. From roads to stormwater and police, all interjurisdictional agreements with DeKalb County have worked well, he said.
Stubblefield is supportive of the plans to improve Fitzgerald Field. As a long-distance runner, race director for the Atlanta Track Club, volunteer for the 1996 Atlanta Centennial Olympics and the Paralympic Games and a 35-year regular at Tucker’s own Charles Harris Run for Leukemia 10K, it’s no surprise to hear him say: “Sports bring people together.”
Stubblefield’s campaign is planning a kick-off event closer to the end of summer, he said. His 64th birthday is election day, Nov. 2.
The election is Nov. 2. 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 Rece, candidate for District 1, Post 2
– Roger Orlando, candidate for District 1, Post 1
– Neal Stubblefield, candidate for District 3, 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
*These councilmembers are term limited and can’t run again
**These councilmembers are not seeking reelection
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