By: Barbara Behrens
Michelle Jones, a newcomer to local politics, is challenging incumbent Marlon Bolton for City Commission for District 1.
With a degree in Culinary Arts and Education, many Tamarac residents already know her as Chef Jones, where she teaches cooking classes for children and healthy lifestyle workshops for Seniors.
She also brings experience from working within the school system where she teaches and mentors as well as develops small businesses and programs for at-risk youth. Her young clients include abused young women, children with emotional challenges, and learning disabilities.
The mother of a grown son attending college, Jones said raising him was the best gift in her life, and that he motivates her to change the world.
Jones has made her mark by becoming a certified Chaplin and working as a former Broward County teacher. She serves the larger community as a member of the BCPS Diversity Board, Broward Human Rights Board, Tamarac Shareholder’s Board, and sits on the Kaiser University Alumni’s Psychology Board.
“I was recognized by the Boys and Girls Club with their ‘Outstanding Woman of my Community’ award, and am currently a vendor and provider in vocational rehabilitation services,” said Jones.
When asked why she decided to run against Marlon Bolton, Jones said she doesn’t think he is the right person for the job, describing the incumbent as someone with an aggressive personality.
“I think his approach to solving problems in the city is harmful. His way of interacting with his peers on the commission is not a good example of a city leader,” said Jones.
Describing what her own goals as a city commissioner would be, Jones outlined the problems she believes exist in her district and throughout Tamarac.
She said there needs to be more affordable housing for senior-aged residents, a better water delivery system, and more equitable management of all four districts in her city.
“Our small businesses should be promoted and supported more, so residents will choose Tamarac businesses rather than go elsewhere,” said Jones, adding it also would not hurt for community leaders to interact more with city officials.
“Our residents might not know there are already programs that have been set up but are not being taken advantage of, like ‘Coffee with Cops’ or ‘Riding Bikes with a Cop,’” said Jones.
If elected, Jones would also like to see the city work with the school system to get quality alternative programs for kids with learning disabilities. She feels they are not getting the accommodations and counseling they need, and that contributes to a myriad of problems for the community, including, in her view, school shootings.
Yet, despite wanting to fix existing problems in Tamarac, Jones said there is also a lot to love.
“It’s a very active community. We are people-driven. We prioritize family life, and find a way to involve everyone in our community,” she said.
Barbara Behrens is retired and a freelance writer who lives in Tamarac. She is also a volunteer for Chef Michelle Jones’ campaign and has volunteered for past campaigns in the City of Tamarac.
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