California's newest member of the Board of Aldermen is aiming to bring a different outlook to municipal government in the city.
Lorrie Grimes was sworn in at last week's City Council meeting. Grimes was running unopposed on the ballot for Ward I in the upcoming June election and took on the seat early as outgoing alderman Aaron Grimes resigned.
Grimes took in her first City Council meeting immediately after being sworn in — she said she wasn't sure what to expect, but it was good to ease into the process right away.
Grimes and her husband were born and raised in California, and she said her desire to get more involved in the community was one of the reasons she thought she should run.
"I've always been kind of curious about why certain decisions are made, and just the reasoning behind those decisions or ordinances, all those changes in the community," Grimes said.
Grimes said she also brings her leadership experience gained as a member of her church, where she serves as the moderator. She also pointed to about 10 years of employment at Burgher Haus, some of which was spent as a manager, as important experience as well, from the contact she had with members of the community to being able to hear the "coffee shop talk" among residents about what was going on in California.
Grimes has two young children, ages 2 and 4, and she said it's easier for her to get involved with things now that they're not babies anymore.
Grimes said she's interested in enacting changes in the community that better it, making California a more attractive community for natives to stay put in as well as a draw for new neighbors to move in.
Grimes said it's hard to say right now what specifics might help to accomplish these goals, since she's still getting a handle for the goings-on in city government. However, Grimes said as a younger member of the Board of Aldermen, she would hope to be more accessible to other young families in the community.
"Once I kind of get my feet in the water a bit, I'll probably bring more ideas to the table," Grimes said. "And I think having me on the board will also give a different view or outlook."
On coming into the role during the coronavirus pandemic, Grimes said she aims to take a measured approach to reopening things. She said keeping social distancing in mind while balancing, for example, the needs of young children who have been cooped up at home for two months is important.
"That's hard on them, as well as parents," Grimes said. "I'm not opposed to opening up but not for completely opening up. We (should) take it situation-by-situation. That's kind of how I am on a lot of topics. I want to know the details, I want to know the different perspectives on it before I make my decision on things."