Oak Ridge City Council member Ellen Smith has announced she is seeking re-election in November.
An environmental scientist, Smith was first elected to City Council in 2007. She is one of three incumbents seeking to keep their seats in the Nov. 6 election.
“It has been both an honor and a significant responsibility to serve Oak Ridge’s citizenry as one of the city’s elected leaders,” Smith said in a press release. “I hope that my work over the last five years has justified the citizens’ trust, and that Oak Ridge voters will choose me for another term in office.”
Smith said she has been guided by a 2009 vision statement drafted by City Council.
That statement said Council wants “Oak Ridge to be ‘a highly sought-after community for people of all ages to live, work, play and do business,’” Smith said. “Add to that a concern for people, a concern for fairness, a conviction that government decision-making should be transparent to the public, and a never-ending pursuit of value for the public’s money, and you’ll have a pretty good summary of what guides my government actions.”
Smith is an environmental scientist on the research staff in the Environmental Sciences Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Originally from Connecticut, she is a graduate of Carleton College in Minnesota, where she majored in geology, and she has a master’s degree in water resources management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Smith and her husband, Rich Norby, have lived in Oak Ridge since 1981. They have one adult son who was born and raised in Oak Ridge and attended the city’s schools.
Before her election to City Council, Smith was a 16-year member of the city Environmental Qjuality Advisory Board, serving for several years as its chairman, the release said. She represented EQAB and later the city on the board of directors of the Local Oversight Committee, chairing that body from 2007 until 2011.
She is a member of organizations including the League of Women Voters and Altrusa, and is a founding member of both Keep Anderson County Beautiful and Advocates for the Oak Ridge Reservation, on whose boards she serves.
In the press release, Smith said she has added to her understanding of local government and worked to build connections with other communities through conferences and other activities of the National League of Cities and the Tennessee Municipal League, as well as by completing Level 1 of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service’s Elected Officials Academy and several more classes. Currently she is participating actively in the five-county PlanET regional initiative.
Some of her earlier volunteer civic activities include being a charter member and officer of the East Tennessee Chapter of the Association for Women in Science in the 1980s; participating in the 1992-1993 Greenways Task Force that developed a master plan for what is now the city greenway network, the 1992-1994 Lower East Fork Poplar Creek Citizens Working Group, and a late 1990s city task force that investigated and made recommendations on karst problems; and service as a volunteer leader in Linden School Cub Scout Pack 226.
The press release said Smith’s website at www.ellensmith.org provides information about the candidate and her current campaign, as well as blog postings and other commentary posted during the eight years since the website was established.