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Arlington Mayor, Council members sworn in

Newly sworn-in Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert officiates her first Arlington City Council meeting on Jan. 3. - Kirk Boxleitner
Newly sworn-in Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert officiates her first Arlington City Council meeting on Jan. 3.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — “It’s wonderful to see so many people here on a night when we’re not talking about the budget,” newly sworn-in Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert said at the Jan. 3 Arlington City Council meeting. “This is your Council.”

While incumbent Council members Steve Baker, Dick Butner, Marilyn Oertle and Chris Raezer once again recited their oaths of office, which fellow Council member Debora Nelson had already delivered for the first time on Nov. 21 of last year, the Council’s first meeting of the New Year also marked the first swearings-in of Council members Ken Klein and Randy Tendering, as well as Tolbert herself.

Not only has Nelson stepped down as president of the Downtown Arlington Business Association to serve on the Council, but she was also appointed on Jan. 3 to serve as the city of Arlington’s representative to Community Transit. While the time commitments of her new roles include plenty of homework outside of the meetings, Nelson credited the flexibility of her work schedule as a private business owner with helping her balance her responsibilities.

“I knew it would be a steep learning curve for the first six months, and I was right,” Nelson said. “I carry a notepad with me wherever I go, so I can listen and take notes.”

Nelson looks forward to developing relationships that foster teamwork with her fellow Council members, as well as serving the citizens of Arlington.

“I enjoy new adventures and this will be a grand year for learning new things,” Nelson said.

Klein had already been attending all the Council meetings through the past year, but like Nelson, he looks forward to representing Arlington at regional meetings and promoting its values. Like Tolbert, he was also excited to see so many people at the Jan. 3 Council meeting, and he encouraged everyone in Arlington to attend and take part in the city’s governance.

“We have a terrific group of Council members, each with our own ideas and concerns, but what we have in common is our love for the city,” Klein said. “I expect that the new mayor and Council will meet these challenging times with thoughtful policy decisions and effective management, always keeping the well-being of all the citizens of Arlington at the forefront of our minds.”

Tolbert agreed that everyone on the Council is interested in scaling those challenges and finding opportunities for Arlington’s future. She’s had to end her involvement in the Arlington-Smokey Point Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Committee and the Arlington Airport Commission, but modern technology has allowed her to balance her commitments to the city and the Fly-In.

“The biggest adjustment so far is blending two separate calendars,” Tolbert said. “I’ve been delighted to see how much everyone is willing to participate in making Arlington a great city. The reception I’ve had from the Council, staff and citizens couldn’t be more welcoming.”

Tolbert pledged to open up more lines of communication through social media, to aid her in representing the city’s interests on a more regional platform. She already has her own Facebook page, through which she’ll help get the word out about the city’s events and progress on various issues.

“My wish is for it to be another tool for citizens to see their elected officials in action, and to seek information they may need,” Tolbert said.

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