PORTSMOUTH — On Monday, he petitioned for a fellow ward resident’s right to have a beehive on his property. Following the results of the upcoming elections, he plans on advocating for the wants and needs of all his neighbors as its councilman.
Andy Cole will be among the three candidates vying for the seat in the relatively crowded 3rd Ward race. On Thursday, he spoke with the PortsmouthDailyTimesand shared his vision for his hopeful four-year term.
“I have never been a politician and have never wanted to be a politician,” he said in a phone interview. “Portsmouth means a lot to me, I met my wife here, my whole family is here. I have seen a lot of great things happening here in Portsmouth.”
The Portsmouth native and Shawnee State University grad, living in the 3rd Ward for the past 13 years with his wife, decided to run after Mayor Kevin Johnson announced he would not be seeking reelection. In that time since Cole said he has been learning as much as he can about what is going on at city hall and hearing concerns from his potential constituents.
He shares what he learns on his official Facebook campaign page, so his neighbors and what he ultimately hopes to become his votes can become educated as well.
“Most people don’t know what’s going on in their town,” Cole said, a realization he made through speaking with those throughout his ward. “Most didn’t know who to reach out to and I found that really concerning to me because that also means that they’re not involved and their voice has not been heard.”
As for his 9 to 5, Cole works as the operations manager of Premier Kites and Designs. Responsible for reviewing the Findlay Street business’ budget, he moved the company’s warehouse in Maryland to Portsmouth and created more than 20 jobs for the area.
This experience he believes suits him well to work on council, where he wants to contribute his know-how into ridding the city of its fiscal watch status.
“I am really good at recognizing opportunities, but really more importantly in my careers, I have perfected the out-of-the-box ideas,” he said, those ideas often the most beneficial in his experience. “I live spreadsheets, I live budgeting, I live (Human Resources), and I know how to work with people.”
Four names will appear on the 3rd Ward ballot May 4, but only three will be considered to move on to the General Election later this year. This is due to Portsmouth City Junior High School teacher Jessica Pacula announcing that she withdrew her name from consideration. She said those that planned on voting for her can find solace in Cole, sharing her official endorsement of him with the Timesearlier this week.
“I’ve gotten to know Andy as well as his vision for Portsmouth, and it’s very aligned with mine,” she said in a provided statement. “He not only has worthy goals for our city, but he also has well-laid out plans for achieving them. For instance, Andy sees the need for bringing jobs to Portsmouth, but he also knows the layers involved in realizing this goal.”
What she likes about her fellow ward resident is the focus he brings to the table, describing Cole as “proactive” by meeting with many city department heads in his campaign and his extensive study of the city budget.
“He sees that we need to keep working to revitalize and beautify our town to make it a place where people want to work and live,” she said, having herself an opportunity to discuss plans with him. “With this kind of work ethic being demonstrated before the election, I’m so excited to see what Andy Cole accomplishes as our council representation.”
While he feels like he has learned a good deal on city affairs in his initial searches, Cole plans on sharing additional findings if the votes have it and he serves on the council.
“There are a lot of things that happen in Portsmouth and there are a lot of people involved,” he said. “When I said ‘putting Portsmouth first’ I had zero personal agenda…there’s nothing on my plate for Andy Cole that I am hoping to be part of city council because I want to address what’s best for Andy Cole. What’s best for Andy Cole is truly what’s best for Portsmouth.”
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3101 ext. 1931, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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