Smyrna’s general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 and a record 19 candidates are on the ballot. In their words, candidates will be introducing themselves here at Patch. Today, we have Ward 1 City Councilwoman Teri Anulewicz, who is running against unopposed.
Teri Anulewicz was elected to the City Council in Smyrna, Georgia, in November 2007. She demonstrated her tenacity with a door-to-door, grassroots campaign and unseated a 19-year incumbent with an overwhelming percentage of the vote – all while pregnant with her second child. She has an in-depth understanding of the multifaceted issues faced by municipal elected and appointed officials on a daily basis, and firsthand knowledge of the importance of positive citizen engagement and strong relationships with business, civic, and community organizations.
Professionally, Teri is a Public Affairs Director with Allison & Partners (www.AllisonPR.com). She has extensive experience in managing public affairs and public relations campaigns, as well as with grassroots and grasstops advocacy and coalition-building, with an emphasis on issues related to healthcare, Medicaid, and Medicare.
Teri is the firstborn of six children. A native of New Orleans, La., she and grew up New Orleans and in Houston, Texas. She moved to metro Atlanta in 1994, and graduated from Agnes Scott College in 1998 with a BA in International Relations (an amalgam of history, political science, and economics). She met her husband at Atlanta’s Clermont Lounge while they were both living in Virginia-Highlands, and in 2000, they moved to the Smyrna area. Attracted by the Jonquil City’s strong sense of community, efficient government, and walkable neighborhoods, they bought their home in Ward 3 in 2005.
Teri is a 2006 graduate of Leadership Cobb and is a member of the Junior League of Atlanta and the Leadership Cobb Alumnae Association. From 2003-2005, she co-chaired the Junior League of Atlanta’s Political Affairs Committee. She is past president of the MOMS Club of Smyrna-Northeast, and served as Annual Fund Chair for the Agnes Scott College Class of 1998 for several years. Teri also served on the board of the Tommy Nobis Center, and she belongs to the Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society. She currently serves on the Smyrna Area Council of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Campbell High School Educational Foundation, as well as on the Truancy Intervention Panel at Belmont Hills Elementary School.
Her husband, Chris, is an attorney practicing in Atlanta and they have two children: a son, born in 2004, and a daughter, born in 2008.
I am frequently asked what on earth I was thinking when I ran for City Council while I had a three-year-old at home and was expecting my second child, as well as how I manage to coordinate the needs of my family, my day job, the demands of the Council, and constituent services. My response generally consists of at least one of the following:
"I *do* have a husband, as well as several phenomenal babysitters."
"God bless whoever invented the Crock Pot."
"God bless whoever invented Google Calendars."
"You will pry my iPhone and iPad out of my cold, dead hands."
"It seemed like a good idea at the time."
(Just kidding on that last one.)
In fact, I take my responsibilities to the residents of Ward 3 and the City of Smyrna extremely seriously. I view my role as a Councilmember as that of a high-level volunteer who happens to have a reserved parking space (and a lot of extra campaign signs in my basement). One of the many things I think is great about Smyrna is how our community encompasses the old and the new: we have new neighborhoods across the street from 100-year-old bungalows, and we have families who have made Smyrna their home for generations, as well as families like mine, who were drawn to Smyrna because of its sense of small-town community as well as its convenience to just about everywhere else in metro Atlanta. I've lived in Decatur and I've lived in Virginia-Highlands, but this is the first time I've lived in a home where I could plop my kids in the stroller and quickly and safely walk them up to the library, to music or gymnastics class, to grab a bite to eat as a family, or just to watch the ducks and the turtles in the Arboretum.
I ran for office in 2007 because I felt that the residents of Ward 3 deserved responsive leadership that was representative of both the new and the old in Smyrna. Strong schools are critical to Smyrna's success, and one of the first things I did when I came on Council was to work with the Smyrna Education Committee, which eventually evolved into the Smyrna Education Foundation. I have worked continually with the Cobb County Board of Education to educate them on the ways that Ward 3 has changed in the past 10 years, and am absolutely thrilled about the new elementary school that is scheduled to open in the heart of Ward 3 in time for the 2013 school year.
In addition to working with representatives from the School Board and our local schools, I also feel strongly that my role is not just to represent Ward 3 residents to the Mayor and Council, but also to the rest of metro Atlanta. Smyrna's easy accessibility to the rest of metro Atlanta - you can see the downtown Atlanta skyline from parts of Smyrna, for heaven's sake - means that anything that impacts the metro region will absolutely impact Smyrna. To this end, I continually cultivate relationships with our state-level elected representatives, as well as to organizations like the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the Cumberland Community Improvement District (CID), and the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC). I also interact regularly with other elected leaders in Cobb County, as well as in communities that face many of the same issues at Smyrna, like Sandy Springs, Chamblee, and Decatur. The biggest challenge facing the metro region right now is transportation, and I have taken the initiative to become very educated about - and involved with - the transportation conversations happening right now in the our region.
Cultivating and sustaining a strong environment for economic development is also critical for ensuring a solid future for Smyrna. We are fortunate to have a strong economic development team on staff, and I intend to continue working with them to sustain and grow the businesses we have in Smyrna right now, as well as to identify and target the kinds of businesses we would like to see in Smyrna. One example of this is the recent dialogue I helped facilitate between Ward 3 residents and our economic development team regarding businesses that residents want to target for the Market Village. A reason why I ran for Council in 2007 was to represent Ward 3 residents during the redevelopment boom that was underway - and while we all know that the bottom dropped out for just about every market in the country in 2008, as we are finally seeing progress and gradual turnaround (like with the Jonquil Village site), it's more important than ever that Ward 3's residents have an engaged, committed voice.
Speaking of engagement, I hope to continue and enhance my ongoing citizen outreach efforts. I will continue to send monthly Ward 3 email updates (if you're not receiving these, but want to, please don't hesitate to email me at tanulewiczATgmail.com and I will add you to the confidential distribution list) highlighting news and events that impact Ward 3 and Smyrna. I post regularly on my Facebook page (www.Facebook.com/TeriWard3), and I am always available by phone (404-931-TERI). I will also continue to participate in neighborhood and HOA meetings. In my next term, I would also like to start hosting community dialogues on fifth Mondays (1/30/12; 4/30/12; 7/30/12; 10/29/12) - but rather than the standard pass-the-mike meeting, I plan to explore recent theories and concepts in what's known as "participatory democracy," with meetings featuring small-group, roundtable dialogues.
I'm unopposed in this election and am honored to represent Ward 3 for four more years. I intend to build upon my first term in office and will continue to be accessible, engaged, and responsive. When I make decisions, I try to envision what my choices mean for the kind of community I want Smyrna to be in thirty years (heaven help me if I'm still on the Council in 2041) - for our families, our businesses, and our schools. I wholeheartedly believe that Smyrna's future, along with the rest of the metro Atlanta area, is bright, and while the road won't be easy, a solid future with regards to economic development, our schools, transportation, and ongoing communication with Smyrna's residents and businesses will lead to continued success for our community.