Joanna Bouldin: Candidate for Dormont Council

We took out some time this week to get to know Joanna a little bit better. Here’s what we learned.

What inspired you to run for office?

It wasn’t an easy decision to run — it’s a big time commitment, it puts my family and I in the public eye in a way that would be new, and it seems like one of those jobs that is way harder than it looks! But not only have I become very invested in my community — going to council meetings, attending school board sessions, getting to know my neighbors and the parents at school — but the November election really motivated me to step up and get involved in a new way.

I’ve always been quite politically active, but after some soul searching I realized where I want to step up is here, in my community, in Dormont.

And as a woman, the last year was very galvanizing. Given the results in November and the campaign leading up to it, it’s not surprising that an unprecedented number of women are running for office. 2016 made it abundantly clear that big change has to happen to ensure women and other historically marginalized communities are fully represented in our political landscape. Local and state offices are going to be ground zero for this change. And I want to be part of it.

What surprised you about deciding to run for office so far?

Honestly, it’s how excited people are when I tell them I’m running! I think there is something in the air right now. People are sick of the negativity and division they see at all levels of government, and the rhetoric of hate and fear that dominated our political discourse last year. Folks are ready for some new faces and fresh perspectives, but they also seem really ready to get engaged and involved themselves. This is exciting to me, both as a resident and a candidate.

Running for office obviously requires a lot of hard work. What do you see as a motivator that will get you through it?

Dormont is a community on the rise and it’s future is bright. We have so much here already: a revitalizing business district, great recreational facilities and events, friendly walkable neighborhoods, and a community full of folks with talent and big ideas. My dream for Dormont is that we figure out how to come together as a community to harness all these resources and take our Borough to the next level. Knowing that I’m working towards that will sustain me and make the work feel worth it. Also … binge-watching Parks & Rec.

What are you excited to work on if you are elected to Council?

Communication and community engagement are two issues I am very excited to work on. We need better, more effective tools to communicate important information to residents, track and respond to questions/concerns, and tap into the passion and skills of our residents to get them involved. I’d say we also need to kick our PR efforts into high gear to get the word out about Dormont in the broader region. Great things are happening here, and people inside and outside the Borough ought to know about it!

What do you think will make you awesome at being on Council?

Ultimately, I think there are three basic things that we need in our local government: a strong vision for the future, an ability to work with one another, and a willingness to roll up our sleeves and get to work. I hope to bring all three of these to the table.

What do you see as being some of the challenges of being on Council?

One of the biggest challenges for any leadership group is bringing people of good intention but different opinion together, working through differences respectfully, and trying to make decisions that benefit our neighborhood as a whole.

I hope to bring my experience as an educator and a community organizer to the table, and serve as a positive and unifying voice on Borough Council.

Another challenge — but also an opportunity — that this Council will face is the reality of some major shifts happening in Dormont. As our community experiences big changes, we need to thoughtfully pursue opportunities that will support ALL our Dormont families — both old and new — and promote a thriving, diverse and welcoming neighborhood. But figuring this out is a challenge I welcome and am eager to take on.

What something that most people would be surprised to learn about you?

I’m a total sci-fi nerd and have had a 2 decade long crush on Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Don’t care…I can get my geek on hard.