Commissioner Jennifer Milele is already campaigning for the November election to get a head-start on securing her seat.
Milele’s website is corniced with a crawling banner that calls upon her constituents to elect her in November. Her newsletter also now makes mention of the fact that she’s running for the seat. Not having been elected in the first place, though, injects uncertainty into her campaign.
Milele was appointed by her fellow commissioners in August 2019 to replace, Brian Abston, so the election to come will be her first. Competitors who vied against her for the same appointment said at the time that they too would run for in the 2020 election for District 4, but only Milele’s campaign has launched so far, having started 11 months out.
“I decided in January to go ahead and publicly announce my candidacy because I wanted ample time to let voters know that I am serious about keeping my seat and also having the opportunity to earn their vote,” Milele said.
Upon beginning her incumbency last year, Milele branded herself the citizen advocate. To do that, she’s gone out of her way to form close relationships with her constituents.
Milele quickly established a monthly newsletter shortly after starting her term. In it, she informs her constituents about all the large and small issues that she thinks matter to them. It’s one of the ways she said she’s demonstrated her fitness to serve them as more of a go-between than a representative.
“In my monthly newsletters, I include a lot of detailed information to keep citizens informed of what is going on in their city. It’s another desire of (mine) to get people interested and help educate them on how the city works, policies/procedures, what is involved in changing a law, etc.,” Milele said.
According to her, lots of Mt. Juliet residents from other parts of the city reach out to her as much as her own constituents. For that matter, she feels that she’s fielding a lot of questions from citizens each week and been diligent about responding to all of them, which she hopes will show her constituents her level of commitment.
There remain myriad issues she still wants to tackle in office. She aims to see several road and traffic signal improvement projects in her district, and she said she has been collaborating with the Public Works Department to see to it that these projects are completed.
“A few have already been completed, some are ongoing, and others are yet to be implemented,” she said. “It’s important to me to see these through.”
Ultimately, Milele is campaigning on the merits of her performance thus far. She points to not only her transparency and newsletter but also her voting record to demonstrate that.
“When I vote on any issue, I put a lot of common sense thought into it with an open mind, including time to read and study the details on the agenda.”