Julie Thomas today announced her candidacy as a Democrat for the Monroe County Council at-large. "Monroe County has a unique character and is a strong and vibrant community," said Thomas, a small business owner and long-time County resident. "As the fiduciary body of County government, the County Council can play a large role in preserving - and building upon - the County's strengths."
Thomas plans to focus on building a green economy in Monroe County by supporting locally owned businesses, helping local businesses become more environmentally friendly, and by attracting new green businesses to the County. "The proposed closing of the GE plant signals the need to think differently about the economic future of our County," said the candidate. Thomas believes that in tandem with the County Commissioners, the County Council can provide the necessary support for the introduction and growth of environmentally-friendly and environmentally-focused companies in our area. "Support for local agriculture and existing small businesses will also help ensure a solid, long-term economic base for the County. In addition, the County's green space and water supply must be protected," Thomas said.
Thomas believes that these initiatives can be achieved without raising taxes, but rather by utilizing the resources of the County more effectively. As a business owner, Thomas understands the importance of budgeting. She noted, "there are many economies - large and small - which can be explored by the County Council."
Public safety is another key issue that Thomas will stress in her campaign for Monroe County Council. "The community Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is a great example of public safety programming initiated by the Prosecutor's office which has combined the efforts of many groups in the community - including Bloomington Hospital, Indiana University, and Middle Way House." said Thomas. In addition to supporting SART and similar initiatives to assist victims of crime, Thomas plans to work with the Prosecutor's office to pursue additional crime prevention and victim's assistance efforts.
County government can do more to improve civic engagement, according to Thomas. "Monroe County is unique because of its residents," said Thomas. "Citizens must feel that their County government is approachable, accessible, and responsive to their needs." To improve civic engagement, Thomas supports the expansion of the County Website to include up-to-date listings of vacancies on County Boards and Commissions, with on-line forms for citizens who wish to apply.
In addition, there are creative ways the County and City can work together to improve efficiency and to better serve all of the citizens of the County. Key commissions in the City of Bloomington can expand their memberships to include both City and County residents. For example, the membership of the Bloomington Commission on Sustainability can be broadened which would bring ideas to the table to benefit the entire County.
Thomas is the owner of Cartridge World in Bloomington, a small, local, green business which encourages the recycling and re-use of printer cartridges. She lives with her husband, Michael Enyeart, in the Lake Griffy watershed.
Thomas earned a Ph.D. in History and Gender Studies from Indiana University in 2005. She currently serves on the Monroe County Board of Zoning Appeals, and as the Democratic Precinct Chair for Bloomington 20. Thomas currently serves as member of both state and local Boards of Directors: She is a Board Member (and past President) at Middle Way House and a Board Member for Planned Parenthood of Indiana and the Planned Parenthood of Indiana Advocates. Thomas volunteers at many local organizations, including Middle Way House (where she continues her decade-long service as a victim's advocate), Planned Parenthood, and Indiana Equality. She is a member of the Steering Committee for the Monroe County Democratic Women's Caucus. Thomas also recently served as a volunteer at Community Justice and Mediation.
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