In November, citizens of Norcross will cast their votes for three posts on the city council. In the weeks following up to the election, Patch will be covering all the candidates running for Norcross City Council. This week, we spotlight Arlene Beckles.
Arlene Beckles has been a resident of Norcross for nine years. Since then, she's been involved in a number of city organizations: the Norcross Arts Alliance, the Norcross Police Department Foundation, Safe Routes to School and more.
To add one more to the Norcross list, Beckles is a candidate for the Norcross City Council, her first time running for political office. In the November election, she'll be up against the same post as incumbent David McLeroy.
This week she spoke with Norcross Patch on her candidacy.
What inspired you to run?
I just know that now is the right time for me. I have more of a strong conviction to run for city council rather than an inspiration.
What are some of the immediate things you want to work on for the city if you win the council seat?
Code enforcement is the No. 1 issue that I will address both from a business and a residential aspect. We have made some improvements but there is still more work to be done. We need additional code enforcement officers now more than ever with the newly annexed area. I am an advocate for public safety, and I plan on continuing the work that I started as a citizen, that of partnering with the Norcross Police Department and its Community Oriented Policing. Finally, parks and walking trails continue to be at the forefront in the minds of the citizens. I learned this from getting involved in a number of activities and committees.
What are some of your long-term goals for the city?
The biggest long-term goal I can think of right now is more connections and opportunities for everyone. I simply mean giving both the older and younger generation something that they can continue to be proud of, a place where they can continue to live, work and play – inclusion for all.
How do you hope to change the city overall from what it is today?
Continuation is the better word here. I hope to continue what has been started and push for more… more bike and pedestrian paths, more connectivity, more sustainability, a variety of housing options, more for all the citizens of Norcross to sustain the quality of life that we have all come to know and enjoy.
What are some of your notable volunteer efforts for Norcross?
I am proud of having the support of a community that trusts me enough to join forces to do some extraordinary things in Norcross! The most notable effort is the conversion of the Norcross Police Appreciation Committee to a fully operational non-profit with the help and support of committee members. I’ve partnered with Sustainable Norcross to create a Safe Routes To School Travel Plan for Summerour Middle School. I am in charge of the annual for the Norcross School Cluster in collaboration with Norcross Arts Alliance. I also am Chair of the Imagination Committee. I also enjoy some fun projects and the Norcross Yarn Bomb event where approximately 30 women stitched up Norcross. I remember joking with Adam Murphy of CBS Atlanta that he should not come to Norcross to report bad news he should come back for the Yarn Bombing, they all did Fox5 and 11Alive! From that event I was able to talk about Norcross and all it has to offer and these efforts have added new volunteers to the pool for other Norcross events!
Why should the city vote for you?
Norcross has changed. We are the most diverse and multi-cultural city in Gwinnett County with more than 100 languages and dialects being spoken. I grew up in Barbados where everyone looked out for each other and we embraced diversity. I represent the change that is Norcross and I bring a lot to the table. My educational background speaks for itself, and I offer a fresh look, especially when it comes to collaboration and getting people to cooperate and work together to move Norcross forward.
Are you voting for Arlene Beckles in the upcoming election for Norcross City Council? Tell us in the comments.