Holt, Tonsmeire running for Cartersville Ward 3
by Jason Lowrey
Sep 29, 2013 | 2214 views | 0 0 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The only contested city council election in Cartersville this year is in Ward 3. Teacher Valerie Holt is challenging incumbent Louis Tonsmeire Sr., who has been on the council since 2002. Voters in Ward 3 will have their say Nov. 5.

Name: Valerie Holt

Occupation: Teacher and department head at Woodland High School

Family: Married to Chuck Holt; one daughter, Betsy, a sophomore at the University of West Georgia

Education: BS Business Administration, Berry College; M.Ed. Educational Administration, University of West Georgia; Ed.S. Instructional Leadership, Nova Southeastern University

Age: 50

Website: Facebook page, Valerie Holt for Cartersville City Council

Email: electholt@gmail.com

Why did you decide to run for this particular race?

A: Over the last year, I completed the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program and the Cartersville Citizens Academy. Going through both of these programs gave me the opportunity to get an up-close view of the day-to-day operations of our local government. I am a lifelong resident of Cartersville, but these programs gave me a new perspective on our city and left me feeling led to serve. I am extremely proud to call Cartersville my hometown and I am very excited about the opportunity to represent its citizens.

If elected, what do you want to accomplish?

A: My goal is to be an accountable and responsive representative for the citizens of Ward 3. I want their concerns and desires to be heard at the table of city government. My objective is for the residents to know who their representative is and to have multiple methods of contacting me and to know their voices will be heard. Residents may feel free to contact me through email, phone or social media and will receive a prompt response.

What is the most pressing issue facing Cartersville?

A: The most pressing issue facing the city is the economy and the effect is has on the budget. Even in the face of declining revenues, the city has continued to provide quality services with less money. This is extremely challenging. City council members need to do everything in their power to manage our resources to make sure we continue to maintain the standards we currently enjoy. I believe it is also the council’s responsibility to make sure their actions create a climate that will foster the growth of new jobs to stimulate our economy.

Once in office, what will your top priority be?

A: We have a beautiful city that many people would love to live in. Our quality of life is second to none. We enjoy a historic downtown thanks to preservation efforts. Our schools, parks and museums are top-notch. Quality utilities and services are provided to us at a very affordable rate. My top priority will be to certainly maintain this quality and to improve it where necessary. Two improvements I would like to see when funds become available are the widening of Douthit Ferry Road and quiet zones at the railroad crossings downtown. I am also concerned about maintaining the quality of our beautiful neighborhoods. Our small town character is what makes Cartersville unique. I will work to make sure we maintain the fabric of our community while allowing balanced growth where appropriate.

Why are you the best candidate for the position?

A: I am a lifelong resident of Cartersville and have lived on the same street for 18 years. I am very active in the community. As I said earlier, I recently completed the chamber of commerce leadership program and the Cartersville Citizen’s Academy. I am a former Court Appointed Special Advocate for children as well as a mentor at Flowering Branch Children’s Home. I am in my 24th year of teaching and currently serve as head of my department at Woodland High School. My family and I attend Cartersville First Baptist Church. I look forward to the opportunity to serve because I feel very strongly that people are much happier living in a community they invest in.

Name: Louis Tonsmeire Sr.

Occupation: Church pastor (part time) in Calhoun

Family: Wife, Sally, to whom I’ve been married for 55 years; 2 sons, Louis Jr., married to Jenny and Drew, married to Kim; two adult grandchildren, Sarah and Zachary

Education: BA Spring Hill College, Mobile, Ala., and Master of Divinity, University of the South, Sewanee, Tenn.

Age: 80 years young

Email: letons@comcast.net

Why did you decide to run for this particular race?

A: I am the incumbent for this council position. I have had an extensive and proven experience in leadership roles, as an elected person and as a volunteer. I am an effective team member on the Cartersville City Council, working well with others, in addition to creativity in planning and problem solving. And, I enjoy this opportunity to work towards the best quality of life for all citizens of the city.

If elected, what do you want to accomplish?

A: To continue the efforts of city government to plan for the well-being of all persons and to anticipate and plan for the growth and opportunities coming to our area. To enlarge the job opportunities available and to develop the trained work force needed, now and in the future.

What is the most pressing issue facing Cartersville? 

A: Attracting and securing additional jobs and trained work force; additional industries/business will increase our opportunity to sell utilities and tax base. The council’s role is to provide the professional economic development people and programs and to review and enhance all the reasons that an industry or business would want to come here.

Once in office, what would be your top priority? 

A: Job growth and trained work force; that job growth will continue, as we utilize our resources, such as Highland 75 (industrial park at Cass-White Road) and work with LakePoint development in Emerson; make “freeport” more favorable for Cartersville.

Why do you feel you are the best candidate?

A: Proven leadership abilities, both through elected offices and as a volunteer. I invite anyone to review my track record, through two terms on Cartersville School Board and three terms on city council and my efforts in civic/community life, in the past as well as the present. Areas in which I have proven leadership include: enhancing education; community resources for our neighbors without insurance; bringing people together so that our diversity is a strength; stressing historic preservation. While these and other successful efforts are not government initiated/sponsored activities, these support the council’s goal: the best quality of life for our citizens. I have 45-plus years of service in this community. To the question “what would you do?” can be added the question, “what have you done?”

My friends (still) call me “the Energizer Bunny,” for my commitment, creativity, perseverance, etc.