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Pruitt, Wren vie for Cartersville’s Sixth Ward seat

Two candidates — incumbent Lori Pruitt and challenger Taff Wren — are running for the Ward 6 seat on the Cartersville City Council. Ward 6 voters will make their decision on Nov. 3.

Name: Lori Pruitt
Age: 53
Occupation: I have been an intellectual property and technology law attorney for 25 years, working with The Coca-Cola Company for seven years as global technology counsel, nine years as of counsel with Alston & Bird and in private practice for the past nine years, continuing my work with technology law, trademarks, copyright and licensing.

Family: I have two children: Bonnie, a senior at Georgia Tech; and Max, a senior at Excel Christian Academy. I always love to mention that my grandfather was Rudy York, for all of the baseball fans who might be reading this article.

Education: J.D., Emory University with Distinction; B.A., Communications, Shorter College,
Cum Laude

Previous political offices: Incumbent, Cartersville City Council — 2003 to present

Why did you decide to run for a seat on the Cartersville City Council?
A: As the incumbent for this position, I am committed to continuing my work as a public servant. I have been involved in local government during the prosperous times before the economic recession, as well as during the economic recession. I am qualified to serve our community, and I bring a depth of experience that is unmatched in this race. I work hard each day to represent our city and my ward fairly and with honesty and integrity.

If elected what do you hope to accomplish?
A: First and foremost, I will continue to vigorously represent Ward 6 and the City of Cartersville. Personally, I am involved in issues involving water, including our source of water, Lake Allatoona, participating in the North Metro Water Planning District Basin Advisory Council and the annual Great Lake Clean-Up. Our water source is a unique asset, and we want to ensure that asset is available to us for generations to come. I also will continue to work for greenspace parks on the north side of our city. As the city continues to fill in, park space for our residents to enjoy is a priority. We are blessed as a community to have wonderful green space assets with Dellinger, Sam Smith, Sugar Valley, Pine Mountain and small area pocket parks. Finding a way to add to those locations on the north side of town is a priority. Finally, I will continue my support of infrastructure maintenance and repair. As with many communities across the country, some of our infrastructure has been in place for decades; it is part of our job to develop a plan to ensure that our infrastructure is maintained as an ongoing responsibility.

What is the most pressing issue facing Cartersville?
A: As we continue to move out of the economic recession, we will, once again, be faced with opportunities to grow and to develop, and as a council as a whole, we look towards economic development opportunities to provide jobs for our citizens. Cartersville is a desirable community and an ideal location for businesses, and it is our responsibility to make sure that we are positioned to develop jobs, but to do so in a way that we do not sacrifice the charming qualities that we all enjoy living here. In
addition, as stewards of your tax dollars, I continue to look for positive ways to manage and fund our public services, like, for example, our police and fire departments, without placing a large economic burden on our residents. I believe our ability in this area has been, and continues to be, a strength, one that I will continue to press.

Once in office, what will be your top priority?
A: I have never identified myself as a “single issue” candidate. I see our role as council members as one that is proactive, setting policy, vision, and direction for the city, while also dealing with the day-to-day opportunities that arise. Continuing our role as one that proactively identifies the vision for the city moving forward, working with key stakeholders, surveying citizens, and implementing the vision will remain a top priority for me.

Why are you the best candidate for this position?
A: Throughout my time in office, I have spent thousands of hours (it is thousands; I did the math) representing Ward 6, working with local citizens, and taking the time to learn about local government by attending training programs and meeting with not only community members, but also elected officials throughout the state and many public administration professionals. I stay abreast of what is happening in our town and what is happening throughout the state, which, in turn, gives me a broad depth of resources, skills and knowledge to creatively address any issues, concerns, or opportunities that come before the Council. Cartersville is a strong, vibrant, and desirable place to live. My goal is to ensure that our decisions foster our city and support our citizens so that we remain a strong, vibrant and desirable place to live.

Name: Taff Wren
Age: 32
Occupation: Attorney at Taff Wren, P.C., Attorney(s) at Law
Family: Dale Wren (Father), Evie Barge (Mother), Robert “Bobby” Barge (Stepfather), Bree Nelson (Sister), Patrick Nelson (Brother-in-law), Andrew Wren [Brother (deceased)], Collin Nelson (Nephew), Hollis Nelson (Nephew) and Katie (Dog)
Education: Graduate of Cartersville High School, the University of Alabama and John Marshall Law School
Previous political offices: First time to run for public office!

Why did you decide to run for a seat on the Cartersville City Council?
A: Since I was young I have felt a responsibility to pay others back for what they have done for me regardless if they asked me to. Cartersville is a wonderful community, a place where neighbors truly care about one another, pick each other up when they have fallen, and has given me the ability to live every day with a smile on my face. This is a debt that I want to pay back, and my choice to give back is by representing the citizens of Ward Six in the best and most responsible manner possible. I also want to be involved in helping shape the City of Cartersville’s future for the best.

If elected what do you hope to accomplish?
A: It is my intent to honestly and competently represent my district. This includes attendance at all work sessions and council meetings so that my constituents have their voices heard. I will pursue green space for a park in Ward 6 so that families can enjoy the beauty of Cartersville [without] traveling outside their ward. I will work to obtain walking paths so that we can safely navigate the busy streets around our ward. I will seek to normalize water rates so that every household in the City of Cartersville pays the same rate for water. I will work with the Police Department to ensure that all streets are properly patrolled and that Ward 6 citizens are safe. I will work with council to provide responsible buffers to allow business to exist without putting a burden on residential enjoyment of their property. I will do my best to promote a ward where employers will want to bring their business and pay wages that allow the citizens of Cartersville to flourish.

What is the most pressing issue facing Cartersville?
A: Managed growth. More and more people will be moving to Cartersville as the areas to our south continue to become more congested. We have to be ready to handle this influx of residence and provide the services that they will require. This will require many updates to our existing infrastructure as well as improvements to our roadways. We must promote a smart growth strategy that is carefully managed protecting the character of the community.

Once in office, what will be your top priority?
A: My first priority will be making myself readily available to my constituents so that their voices and concerns can be heard.

Why are you the best candidate for this position?
A: I’m a lifelong resident of this community and care deeply about the City of Cartersville. I have the energy and the desire to represent Ward 6. I want to breathe new life into Ward 6 that will allow open dialogue with all citizens. I will address the concerns that have been and are brought to my attention. Being complacent is not an option, growth is coming and I feel that I have the energy, knowledge, and desire to confront this change by making fresh, new, and responsible decisions. I will continue to be visible in my ward and make sure that the people of Ward 6 have a voice in our city government.

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