BERLIN – Four candidates are now vying for the position of mayor with the addition of Jennifer Allen to the ballot this week.
Allen filed to run for mayor on Monday, joining what is now the largest race in this fall’s election. Allen will face off against incumbent Mayor Gee Williams, Councilman Zack Tyndall and resident Bill Todd. She believes she can bring a fresh perspective to town hall.
“I just think that they need a new set of eyes and a new voice for the people,” she said.
Allen, who purchased a home in Berlin in 2015 and moved to town after retiring the following year, said she’s been considering running for mayor since last year’s 18% tax increase. She’s attended every meeting since, either in person or virtually, and wants to offer her expertise to the town.
“I’ve been in some type of leadership management job for 46 years,” she said.
Prior to retiring, Allen, a registered nurse, worked as deputy assistant chief of staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. She has a bachelor’s degree in health care management and a master’s in quality systems management. She said her education had shown her the importance of listening to the customer. In Berlin, she says that would be the town’s citizens.
“This is where I think the mayor and council have fallen short,” she said. “Citizens are speaking and the mayor and council aren’t always listening.”
Allen believes the biggest challenges for the town right now are the budget and stabilizing the taxes. She’s also worried about annexation, Heron Park, public safety, stormwater and wastewater.
While she hasn’t lived in town as long as her fellow candidates, she believes that’s something that could help her as mayor.
“Berlin needs a new set of eyes,” she said, adding that she had a different perspective than those who had lived here for decades. “I haven’t always lived here. I can come in and see things other people might not see.”
When asked why she chose to run for mayor as opposed to council, Allen said the mayor had more access to financial information than the council had.
“We need somebody who can have access to what is going on with the budget and the books,” she said. “The mayor has that access.”
Allen encourages the town’s citizens to check their voter registration information in advance of the Oct. 6 election. After helping with an annexation petition last year, she realized that many citizens didn’t know their addresses weren’t always updated automatically.
“People don’t think about it,” she said.
To reach out to Allen email [email protected].