MANSFIELD -- Jean Taddie said Wednesday she is a better public servant than she is a politician.
"Politicians are good at making promises. Public servants are all about carrying them out. I can make promises, but I believe in carrying them out," Taddie said during Wednesday's Richland County Democratic Party luncheon.
The current Mansfield City Council 6th Ward representative, the 53-year-old Taddie seeks to retain the seat in the Nov. 5 election, representing largely the east side of the city.
Taddie was appointed in January by the Democratic Party to complete the unexpired term of Garnetta Pender. She won a three-person party primary race in May.
Taddie is running against Stephanie Zader, a Republican who was unopposed in the primary. Zader, in her first run for public office, is a Realtor who once worked as a City Council clerk.
Taddie, former director of the non-profit North Central Ohio Land Conservancy District, said a council member's two roles are legislating and also advocating for the citizens they represent.
"I have a heart for the people and a real care and concern for our community," said Taddie, who said she has lived in the 6th Ward for more than 22 years.
"I am listening to my residents when they call me and when I seem them face-to-face at neighborhood watch meetings, town halls, knocking on doors or on social media," Taddie said. "Being responsive is more than calling them back. It's following up. It means sticking with it until that issue gets resolved."
Taddie said she has earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and a master's degree in applied communications, both from Cleveland State University. In addition to working as a teacher, Taddie said she worked nine years as a community organizer and program manager at the North End Community Improvement Collaborative.
"Most of my life I have worked two or three jobs at the same time. So I understand challenges families face in terms of trying to make ends meet," Taddie said. "I am also not afraid of hard work, and believe me, there is plenty of work to do in the 6th Ward."
A key issue in Taddie's campaign, and also during her 10 months on City Council, has been working to clean up the 6th Ward, including neighborhood cleanups, ensuring demolition sites are cleaned up after the work is done and also trying to eradicate brownfield areas.
Taddie said brownfield cleanups are longer-term issues, but work needs to begin.
"It doesn't get any cheaper and it doesn't get done any sooner until we get started," she said, discussing the possibility of seeking federal and state grants in a partnership with city and Richland County officials to pay for the work. "These brownfields don't go away on their own.
"Frankly, they are an anchor around our city and all of the good things happening downtown are surrounded by some of these."
Taddie also discussed a new issue she has championed, which is a push to assess and repair malfunctioning fire hydrants in the city. Questions over hydrants rose this summer after a Mansfield girl died in an arson fire on South Foster Street. A hydrant across the street from the burning house did not work properly.
"These are the kinds of things that keep me up at night. These are the kinds of things I have been fighting for," she said. "I want to see these issues dealt with. I want a cleaner, safer 6th Ward. I want the residents to feel prosperity."