By Carletta Knox-Seymour
I was born and raised in Cedar Rapids and graduated from Washington Senior High School. I moved to Milwaukee in 1972 and worked for Blue Cross/Blue Shield for 12 years. During that time, I married, had three children and divorced. I returned to school and earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication/print journalism with an emphasis on public relations.
I served as personnel chair at an inner-city private school, and then became part of the executive board of directors for five years. I helped preserve the financial health of the school, develop long-term strategic plans and determine annual goals and objectives for the executive director and principal. Later, I worked as the fund developer for a homeless shelter for men.
In 1996, I returned to Cedar Rapids. I worked for SAFE Coalition and helped write successful grants. Later, I worked at Four Oaks as the communications manager. In 2009, I started a wholesale home-based baking business called Carletta’s Sweet Things and also began Imperial Cleaning Services.
In 2010, I applied for and was appointed as a city planning commissioner. My duty is to review and make recommendations to the City Council on various land development and use issues. I am in my second term.
I am seeking elected office for two reasons. Youths who are at risk is one. They are black and white throughout the city. I look at this population and see the loss of future talent, revenue and potential taxpayers for our city. Our community needs to be a strength and source for all our youths. The other reason I seek office is to bring about effective change in the economic disparity. Far too many people go to work for less than a living wage.
First priority I see is to secure state funding with matching dollars from the city and federal funding in order to get the flood protection projects underway.
The economic disparity also needs to be addressed. I am beginning to work with other groups to produce a pilot program to help people get short-term loans to build their credit.
I have vision for our city that will increase our quality of life and keep our residents connected here rather than moving away because we refuse to change our way of thinking. Vision that realizes we have to include every resident in our community.
As our city increases in economic development, so should our community look to embrace our differences as a people, in music and culture. It is time we realize how our differences can be our assets.
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