Carolyn Gammicchia, 53, is running for the post of trustee. She has lived in Shelby Township for 17 years and has not yet held public office. She has held several elected offices within local, state, and nonprofit entities. She is executive director of L.E.A.N. On Us, a nonprofit.
1) What lead you to try for the post of trustee initially?
I was raised in a very active political family. My father ran for the Michigan senate (endorsed by then Gov. Romney) when I was a child and was involved for several years within Michigan GOP. Campaigning was part of growing up for me and I’ve always enjoyed volunteering and being active within legislative issues and taking on leadership roles.
My decision to run for trustee was due to my desire to be more involved with what’s transpiring within local government for several reasons. For many years, I served on a national Government Relations Committee for a nonprofit organization, assisted in drafting federal level legislation, and also have testified at federal, state, and local policy and legislative hearings. I’ve also assisted within strategic planning for several nonprofits and served on several boards to elected positions from trustee to president.
I am a 2002 MI Partners in Policymaking graduate and that training, over an eight month period, rekindled an interest in politics for me. However, at the time I was working full time and raising our two sons. I was also president of a local nonprofit and vice president of the Shelby Township Lioness Club. I chose instead to work behind the scenes with committee work and supporting candidates. Now that our sons are older and in college, I feel I can devote the needed time to such an office and am better prepared to do so due to my life experience.
2) What do you plan to do if elected?
I am a strong believer that the electorate should be represented by those they elect. If elected I would listen to voter concerns and work collaboratively with the entire board to ensure transparency. I will also make sure the needs of the community are met while maintaining fiscal responsibility. We all really want to same - to maintain services and keep within budgetary limitations. I would, however, vote the way I feel necessary to represent our residents and the community and not represent special interests.
3) If elected, what township issues would you like to focus on?
Currently, those issues would be the ones brought up by Shelby Township citizens including: maintaining our level of services; bringing closure to the 41A District Court matter in a way that would be best interest to the Township; brining more residents and commerce; and ensuring fiduciary responsibility with transparency.
I would like to see the development of a four-year strategic plan by those that are elected this term to ensure the needs of the community are met. Within that plan, and as our economy may shift, I feel it would be necessary to look at ways to increase obtainable grant funds and participate in state and federal financial initiative to allow for increased funding that we have missed. As a community we also would have to gauge where we have been successful annually and what needs to change along the way rather than only hearing about these things during election years.
4) What personal and professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
My personal accomplishment would be that of our family. I feel very lucky to have married a man who inspires me each day and is such a giving husband and father. Our two sons, though only 21 and 22, have personally developed into young men that are not only community oriented, but empathetic and compassionate individuals.
My professional accomplishments would include consulting on four different national projects with the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime. One of these I personally co-authored with the development of a curriculum and materials that have been used globally. The three others all address proper victim services for those more vulnerable; one will be released soon and is for proper response to child abuse victims with disabilities.
I’ve also been recognized with several national, state, and local honors for my advocacy and volunteer efforts, which I’m very proud of. I’ve also received numerous recognitions as a law enforcement officer for 21 years. However, within these efforts someone saying “thank you” or knowing that I’ve assisted others is fulfilling.
5) Is there one person who has been the most influential in your life?
As a child growing up, I was most influenced by my father who instilled strong family values in us as well as an understanding of social justice issues. He also made sure we all had solid work ethics with him as a role model as a research engineer with Ford and our family business.
6) What are key ways you would have residents make a difference locally?
I would like to see more residents vote and be actively involved within the electorate process, starting with this primary election. Also, I would like to see residents involved in the solution process to issues that may arise within the Township beyond current representation on select committee appointments. Though I feel committee work is essential, I would like to see more chances for involvement by more community members overall and more discussions at open meetings.
7) What do you like most about Shelby Township? Do you have a favorite spot in Shelby?
We chose to live in Shelby Township for its strong community feeling, excellent educational opportunities for our sons, and excellent public safety services. We are active as a family, so we enjoy the bike trails, especially in River Bends Park. We also love shopping and dining out locally and promoting small businesses within the Township.