Kathryn Turbeville is the most recent citizen to take the position as Mayor of Turbeville. A citizen since she moved there at seven years old, Turbeville hopes to bring some flare back to the town. Turbeville sat down for an Editors Office Interview to discuss what she had in mind for her next four years in office.
Editor, Jake McElveen: You just took office, how does it feel?
Kathryn Turbeville: Overwhelming, I want to make sure I do a great job.
E: You were a council member before, what are some of the most significant differences that you've seen so far?
K: Just making sure day-to-day operations are going as they should. There are also a lot more phone calls coming to me now that used to not coming to me. But we have excellent staff and a great administrator that keep it rolling.
E: It's a lot more responsibility, though, right?
K: Yes, it is.
E: How do you, personally, make sure you are cool-headed through all of these new responsibilities.
K: Well, I pray a lot. A whole lot.
E: Well, that's important.
K: It is essential to me. I know that He is going to lead me to do the right things. But as far as being cool-headed, I need to learn to listen and solve any problems calmly if possible. That's about all I can do.
E: We talked about a month ago when you were in the process of being elected. So what preparations have you made since then or has it mostly been council work?
K: It has been mostly council work, but [previous mayor Dwayne Howell] has given me some advice and told me some things that need to happen. I'm mostly just getting my feet wet and learning new things as I go.
E: I spoke with him right before Christmas, and he seemed pretty confident with the person he was leaving it to.
K: Well, I take that as a great compliment.
E: He seems like he is happy with who is filling his shoes. Would you say you have big shoes to fill?
K: Yes. I would say anyone that takes on this position is going to have big shoes to fill. Previous mayors have done a fantastic job. I want to see the town move forward, and I know that we can do that.
E: You're coming in during what some would say is a controversial time for the Town of Turbeville, how are you going to navigate that?
K: You are always going to step on someone's toes. There are some things you have to do, whether you like to or not. In this small community, we have very few issues. The people that do not like the changes are entitled to their opinion, but I did what I thought was the best. Right now, these decisions are what's best. In two years, they might not be, and at that point, we will reevaluate, but right now, they are.
E: Okay, well, let's get into some history. How long have you been on the council?
K: Two years.
E: And now you have four years as Mayor?
E: You were raised here?
K: Since I was seven.
E: Never left?
K: Lived out in the country and moved to town when I was 18.
E: So what, personally, all things considered, what are your motives as Mayor.
K: I want this town to be better. We are pretty good, but everyone can improve. I want to see us grow, if possible. That has always been an issue. We don't have any big industry except for Helena, so if we can get something going on that would be great.
E: I would like to see Big Screen on the Green again, is that still going on?
K: It's not. It needs to get started again, but a lot of things have just fallen off during the past few years. I think I could get the business association right back on track with that.
E: I remember there used to be a lot of events in Turbeville.
K: Yeah! And I don't know if we just kind of got relaxed, but we need more to happen here. Our big thing is the Puddin' Swamp Festival, but we need to do something more than just once a year. I'm sure Screen on the Green was made possible through a grant, and we need to use it.
E: So, goal-wise, what are some things you want to see in the next four years.
K: I want to see Main Street flourish. Fix up the faces of the buildings and do some other things, and I'm sure there are some grants out there for it. I work in another county, and they have this Small-town USA thing going on. You wouldn't believe it. It's only two streets so far, but they have hanging baskets and benches, and I want to see that in this town. Another project is Christmastime. I want to see some rearranging of how we set everything up, involve citizens and businesses.
E: Well, you're going to be attending a lot more conferences now, right?
K: That's what they tell me.
E: Have you felt like it is more than you bargained for?
K: Oh, definitely. People kept asking me why I would want to put so much more on my plate, and it's simply because I love this town, and I love these people. We have our faults, as does any other town, but I love us.
E: How has your family reacted?
K: Well, I know my daddy is proud, but he lives out of town. He gives me a lot of advice, not on how to run the town but how to handle situations. My husband and daughter go on with their daily lives; it's no big deal to them. They have mentioned that I get a lot of phone calls.
E: The past two mayors have served eight years, and I know its a big projection, but do you think that's in the works for you?
K: I honestly don't know. If I have some projects that I want to see finished, then I may run again, but I couldn't tell you.
E: One last question, if you could send a message to the Town of Turbeville, what would it be?
K: We are in this together; we are a team. I hope that everyone will help me achieve the goals that we need to accomplish in this town.