Stacie Barker hopes to win a four-year term on the Stevensville Town Council representing Ward 1. Her opponent is Paul Ludington.
Recently, Barker has been going door to door in her ward, handing out forget-me-not flower seeds and delivering campaign signs.
Barker previously served on the council for three years and seven months before resigning. She said she resigned because she felt that things weren’t right within the council at the time. “I wanted to take a step back,” she said. “I couldn’t focus, I wasn’t able to say no when I needed to say no and yes when I needed to say yes.”
Barker says that now she has more knowledge. She’s followed the meetings, learning the laws. “Town government is different than state government,” she said. “Now I’m more aware of procedures and policies. I have a stronger backbone and a better outlook on how things should happen.”
Barker says she’s also “more open-minded now. Before I would put my guard up when a decision was being made, without having a lot of knowledge behind it.”
During her previous tenure on the council, Barker was a member of the park board and advocated for park improvements such as replacing equipment, planning additional assets for playground and installing security cameras. She said she contributed to the completion of the skate park and was instrumental in development of the $4.1 million airport runway project.
Barker has lived in Stevensville for 32 years, where she and her husband have raised two children. She says she always enjoyed volunteering, helping with Creamery Picnic, Pantry Partners food drives, craft bazaars and more. She was a den mother for six years, then District Commissioner for Boy Scouts for eight years. She has worked at Super 1 Foods for 23 years.
Barker has been involved with the Stevensville’s farmers market since it started, and has been the organizer and manager of it for the last 10 years. She said it’s been a nice way to meet the new people coming into town and to welcome them in. “Being community involved is a big thing for me,” says Barker. “I was born and raised here. I’ve seen the changes with people coming into the valley.”
She said her top priorities as a council member would be the budget and water and sewer issues. “I will work to adopt a fiscally responsible budget,” said Barker. “I understand that the money the Town spends is your hard-earned tax dollars and I will always keep that in mind.”
She said the many water leaks need to be fixed and additional water storage needs to be added. Also, the town’s wells need to be compliant.
Barker said that she feels the community as a whole needs better communication. “We all need to communicate,” said Barker. “We need to be open to the public. Everybody feels that they don’t have a voice right now – they do have a voice and they need to be heard.”
“My biggest thing is being able to work together,” said Barker. “We don’t always agree but we need to respect each other. Be open to the public, be open to our community. I have a love for our town, I want to see things happen for our town, but done in the right way. There’s a reason people move here because of the small-town atmosphere. We don’t want to lose that.”
She said she supports “responsible development. Planning and development is a big responsibility and I will take it seriously, including following current laws, plans and guidelines.”
The biggest issue with the current council, says Barker, is that the public is not being heard. “Letters that are submitted are never read.” She added, “It’s hard because council members do take criticism, but people come to those meetings for a reason and I think it’s to be heard and people get shut down too fast sometimes.”
She said certain things need to be brought to the public’s attention. “What about a sign in the middle of the street that announces the council meeting?”
Barker says she wants to hear from the citizens and welcomes their comments, thoughts and ideas. She can be reached at (406) 381-6145.