Name: Paula Merrington
Town of residence: Geneva
Office sought: Alderman Ward 4
Civic involvement and volunteer work:
Extensive volunteer work providing health care and training to under-served communities in South Africa.
Election judge, precinct committeeman, organized the rapid response to counter protesters at the First Congregational Church in Geneva.
Regional PTA Chair for Diversity and Inclusion in Atlanta, PTA President, HOA President, Chairwoman of the largest Mother’s club in the Seattle suburbs.
Previous elected offices held:
1. Why are you the best candidate for this office?
I have a proven track record in active community involvement. I have effectively participated or run boards and organizations whose primary goal was to improve the quality of life in the community.
I would bring a unique global perspective to the council as an immigrant who has lived in the U.S. for 25 years.
As a Registered Nurse and Midwife who worked for many years in the pediatric ICU and on a medical transport team, I work very well under pressure, and as part of a team, as well as leading one.
2. What are the biggest challenges facing the office you seek?
The budget. Nobody wants to pay higher taxes, and conversely people expect services which ensure us a wonderful quality of life.
3. What issues would you like to address should you be elected?
My focus would be on improving diversity in Geneva.
I am the only candidate whose family “lives diversity” every day.
I was born and raised in Zimbabwe and moved to South Africa for nursing school.
It was there that I met my husband, a man of color. This was during Apartheid, and our relationship was illegal and “Immoral” according to the law of the land.
We feared prosecution and imprisonment as the consequence of our relationship.
We were very active in the fight against Apartheid.
Fast forward decades and I’d be lying if I was to say we, as a multiracial family, did not have concerns over moving to a town that is 95 percent white.
Geneva has provided our family with a wonderful place to live and the people are so friendly and kind.
I wish other families like ours could see that Geneva is a very welcoming town and a safe space.
For that to happen we need to continue public discussion around difficult subjects, and we need to ensure it continues to be a safe and welcoming space.