Introducing Alderman-At-Large Candidate: Tammie Leigh Brown-Edwards

Steven Barnum , News editor

Tammie Leigh Brown-Edwards is hoping that Macomb voters are ready for a new voice at Alderman-at- Large.

A native of Aurora, Ill., Brown-Edwards has been a Macomb resident since 2002. She worked as an editor in The Macomb Journal and worked as a reporter for 10 years. The Eastern Illinois University graduate is proud of her background, which she believes is helpful in public service.

“One thing that frustrates me about the city is their lack of transparency and communication,” she said. “Facebook and their website are the best ways for the community to know what’s going on, and I think my journalism background can help improve that. The Macomb Police Department provides more information for the city of Macomb and that has to change.”

In addition to making sure that the city has a stronger online presence, she said that she would also encourage city officials to put pictures of themselves on the website. This would provide the public with a feeling of more familiarity and make them more approachable. Currently, she works as an office manager and legal assistant in a law office. She said that her job doesn’t prevent her from being active at the local level. She belongs to several organizations and is active in community service, cementing her as a helpful voice in Macomb.

Not only is Brown-Edwards the first woman to run for Alderman- at-Large in Macomb, but she also thinks that she offers a fresh perspective. “I think that people are always looking for new voices,” she said. “I do a lot of research and I look at other towns of the same size to see what they’re doing right.”

If elected, Brown-Edwards plans to be very accessible to members of the public. In addition to being active on all social media platforms, she is also available on the phone or through email. She can be seen at events throughout the community, which she thinks is an important aspect of being a city official.

When it comes to being able to come up with ideas and accomplishing things at the local level, she is proud to have initiated a safe space exchange spot. This spot allows residents to meet at the Macomb Police Department to exchange items they bought or sold online, as well as drop off children in situations with joint custody. She said that the experience with pitching an idea and working with the mayor and chief of police is helpful in politics.

The city of Macomb has a lot more to offer than people realize, according to Brown- Edwards. One of her priorities will be to help promote the easy access and convenience of Amtrak.

“People overlook the ability to come and go on Amtrak,” she said. “We can attract people here to arrive here at 11 and be back to their destination by 6. That sets us apart from a lot of communities because Macomb isn’t far if you get on the train.”

She’s also working on an idea to put together a mural with paintings of famous people, which she believes would attract more people to that spot when passing through the city.

Brown-Edwards knows that strengthening the city’s tourism appeal will bring more tax money to Macomb during a time when the population is decreasing. She mentions that her son’s field trips are always outside of Mc- Donough County, which is a mistake.

“Macomb is the largest city in the county,” she said. “Why are they leaving for other towns just as small or smaller with nothing more than we have? We should be encouraging them to stay here.”

Brown-Edwards believes that Macomb is still an affordable and enjoyable place to live so she remains invested in coming up with ideas to attract more people. By talking with ordinary people within the community, she is able to have more of an understanding of what change residents want to see.

While she would be willing to join committees in addition to serving on the city council, she said that the scheduling structure is not convenient for Macomb residents.

“I would like to see that changed so that residents of Macomb can be more engaged in the process and know what’s going on,” she said.

Disagreement is common in politics and she is prepared to stand up for the causes she believes in, but is more focused on working together.

“I’ve worked with groups and organizations and it’s a lot about compromise,” she said, “although sometimes you have to be the only person to vote against something so that your voice is heard.”

She is reminded of a quote from President Barack Obama. “If the people cannot trust the government to do the job for which it exists, then all is lost,” she quotes.

“I think that people should want to trust their elected officials. I hope I can bring new ideas to the table to make Macomb a more accessible and trusted city to its residents,” Brown-Edwards said.

Brown-Edwards will challenge Don Wynn for the Alderman-at-Large position next week.