Meet Allison Wright, Candidate for District 4 ACC Commissioner
Allison has served on the Clarke County Board of Education for eight years.
1. Where did you grow up? (County and state)
I grew up in Fayette County, Lexington, Kentucky – home of the University of Kentucky-- and moved to Athens just over 20 years ago.
2. Where did you finish high school? College? Graduate or professional school? College major or area of concentration?
I attended Henry Clay High School, a public school in Fayette County, KY. I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science at the University of Kentucky and later a Master of Science degree from the Medical College of Georgia in Medical Illustration.
3. Are you married? Do you have children? If so, where do they go to school?
I have been married to my husband, Gene, for 20 years. He is a Professor of Science Illustration at the University of Georgia Lamar Dodd School of Art. This year he was the interim Director of the UGA Lamar Dodd School of Art. My twin sons, Lucas and Scholl, have been attending Clarke County schools since Pre-K, and will start at Clarke Central High School in the fall.
4. Have you ever held any elected office? (this could even be high school or college)
I just finished two terms on the Clarke County Board of Education as the District 4 representative.
5. Why are you running for your commission seat?
I'm running because I get Athens. Since 1989, I have lived in Athens and been engaged in a variety of activities and events. I work and play here and treasure all that our community has to offer. This election is critical to our preserving the character of Athens and its diverse neighborhoods. Because of my history and experience here, I can work with our community's elected officials as a Commissioner to keep what we all treasure in the face of the growth coming our way.
6. Why should those in your district vote for you?
I have proven leadership working with other elected and appointed officials in our community and at the state level; I have been getting things done within the proper channels outlined for elected officials and I understand how these things work. I am also accessible to the community because of the abundance of areas I can be found in Athens. My family’s life revolves around Athens, its events and amenities and the University of Georgia and those students.
7. What is the most important issue facing your district? Facing Athens?
Addressing the growth in our commercial districts and the parking issues that come with these vibrant areas. I want to expedite the connecting of the new DOT Park & Ride to the Greenway. The most pressing issue facing Athens at large is maintaining our community's quality of life by keeping high standards. We need to improve the local government's role in expediting ACC processes and procedures for new businesses coming to Athens and the growth and expansion of current businesses.
8. How would you address this issue?
I will encourage and support the process of developing the ACC permits and inspections to be up to 21st century business standards by introducing online forms that can be filled in electronically submitted. Right now there are over a dozen different permits that must be filled out by hand and mailed in.
I will make sure the Internet infrastructure for the community can support the needs of the rapidly developing new standards of doing business by pushing for a fiber optic network.
I will ensure that we are using consistent measure for businesses to provide parking for their customers. Yoforia has more garage bins than parking spots for their clients, they have increased their seating for customers without having to provide parking, while other 5Points businesses need to provide 1 car space for each 4 top table. I believe I can work effectively to get additional parking spots in the 5 points area for fellow businesses. For example, if at 8:00 AM on a Sunday morning there are already 12 cars parked behind Earth Fare, I assume those are Earth Fare workers. What if there was an arrangement with a business such as GA United that is closed on Sundays for those cars to park there? If Sunday package sales pass there will be increased traffic for the community with 5 Points Bottle Shop being open, perhaps more shopping at Earth Fare. Keeping convenient parking spots available for customers is an important part of the short-term fix for parking in the area. Long-term solutions are more complicated but need to be explored.
9. Please describe your work history and where you work—do you commute? Or do you work in Athens Clarke County?
I work as a contract medical illustrator for national and international companies. While working at the veterinary school for 13 years, I walked or rode my bike to work when I didn’t have infants at daycare. I am also an adjunct instructor for Athens Technical College and teach once a week at the Walton county site, and last semester I taught a class in Greene county, but it cost too much in gas for me to continue. I also teach at the Athens Tech campus here in Athens and I do drive there once a week for that assignment.
10. What distinguishes you from your opponent?
I have a broad spectrum of life and work experiences connected with Athens, our community and the University of Georgia. My years as a public school student, my children’s lives in our public schools and their extracurricular activities, and my work on our Clarke County school board have me connected with the diversity of our community’s citizens and their elected officials. My 20+ years living in 5 Points provides an abundance of insights and connectivity to our district that will allow me to work for creative problem solving for our district.
My experience as an elected official provides me with the skill set to work appropriately with the Mayor and other Commissioners to work through our community’s current and upcoming issues and represent District 4 for our specific issues and concerns. As a member of the Commission working with others is vital, and that is a major skill that I bring to the table.