To the Editor:
Oak Ridgers are fortunate in having a candidate of the caliber of Ellen Smith willing to once again serve on City Council, where, between 2007 and 2012, we benefited greatly from her wise, intelligent, and highly informed voice.
In addition to her service on Council, Ellen has long been involved in community affairs, and has participated in local government. This, plus her professional background, has made her a strong and consistent advocate for protecting the environmental values of lands and waters of the city and of the Oak Ridge Reservation.
Her activities have also given her a broad understanding of governmental matters additional to the diverse environmental issues and concerns that face Oak Ridge. She is committed to be part of a community leadership that recognizes the challenges we face and makes choices that maximize our assets and opportunities.
Ellen Smithâ€™s educational background is in geology, with a graduate degree in water resources management. She is a research staff scientist in Oak Ridge National Laboratoryâ€™s Environmental Sciences Division, where some of her work has been related to waste management and to the environmental impacts of energy technologies and of Department of Energy initiativesâ€”matters of strong interest to the City of Oak Ridge. Her diligence in researching issues from all angles, and her intelligence in analyzing them, have few equals.
For almost two decades, Ellen has served as member, effective chair, or vice chair of the cityâ€™s Environmental Quality Advisory Board (EQAB). She was also a longtime member, and eventually chair, of the Oak Ridge Reservation Local Oversight Committee (LOC). From 1992-93, she was on the task force that developed a master plan for what is now the cityâ€™s greenways network.
Ellen has played major roles in effective citizensâ€™ organizations, most notably AFORR (Advocates For the Oak Ridge Reservation), of which she is a charter member. She has also contributed her technical expertise to efforts that seek to ensure enforcement of federal surface mining law and state water quality regulations regarding acid mine drainage. And thatâ€™s only a very partial list of her involvements (see www.ellensmith.org).
Ellen Smithâ€™s service on Oak Ridge City Council has always been conscientiously informed, highly intelligent, civil, and eminently sensible. I strongly endorse her election.
Liane (Lee) Russell