Michele Edwards is knocking on doors Thursday morning.
She wants to get to know Staunton residents and their concerns.
Edwards is running for one of three seats on Staunton City Council in November’s election.
She grew up in Alexandria and moved to Staunton 20 years ago with her husband, Wally, who had grown up in a military family. She said he wanted roots somewhere. The couple drove down to Staunton “and just fell in love immediately both of us.”
A graduate of UVA, Edwards obtained a position teaching at Wilson High School and her husband worked remotely. Her degree is in French, then she obtained her teaching degree in special education.
The couple have two children, a son, 21, and daughter, 22.
This fall, Edwards begins her fourth year teaching English as a Second Language for adults at Massanutten Technical Center.
“I absolutely love it,” she said. Her students inspire and motivate her every day.
Staunton City Council is Edwards’ second run for elected office. She ran for House of Delegates in 2017.
If elected, she said she would advocate for the school board, especially during budget season, and focus on creating good jobs and continuing economic development in the city. She also supports workforce housing, so that residents can live in the city where they work.
“We need to have those types of jobs that can offer you a career path,” she said. Blue Ridge Community College provides the education for a career path and Staunton could provide the career positions for graduates.
She said that service jobs, such as working in retail and restaurants, are also important.
“I think economic opportunity is important.”
City council is at a crossroads, according to Edwards.
“We just need to focus on good governance,” she said. City council members need to discuss issues amicably and collaborate. “Because it’s not about me. It’s not about any of the other six. It’s about the 25,394 other people who live in Staunton,” Edwards said. Focusing on the residents and listening is what servant leadership is about. City council members should bring civility, openness and team work to the group dynamic.
“I want people to see me in the community and know who I am,” Edwards said. She wants residents to know that if she is elected, they can contact her. “Having a connection to local government demystifies the process.”
As she goes door-to-door campaigning for November’s election, Edwards said she hopes to continue connecting with Staunton residents, but also hopes to get elected.
“It is an honor [to serve on city council],” she said.
Election Day is Nov. 8, 2022. Early voting begins Sept. 23, 2022.