Editor's Note: Election day is just around the corner and to give our readers a better look at the candidates who’ve thrown their hats in the campaign ring, Patch will be interviewing each one about what issues are most important to them, who’s their fiercest competition and what experience they bring to the table. Here's the first installment of our Names in the News feature.
Terri Aulman may be relatively new to Gilroy—she moved her three and a half years ago—but she wasted no time jumping into the political arena. The mother of two daughters and grandmother of three has served on the Planning Commission for 18 months and currently sits as its chair. She's also an ambassador for the .
Prior to coming to Gilroy, Aulman lived in Discovery Bay where she worked as a field representative for a state assemblyman. Before her gig there, Aulman was employed by IBM and spent 30 years in management. Least among her duties was overseeing a $130 million budget.
Patch spoke with Aulman about why she's looking beyond her Planning Commission post, what issues are most important to her and why having little name recognition is a good thing for Gilroy.
Gilroy Patch: Why did you decide to run for city council?
Terri Aulman: I worked for a state assemblyman while I lived in Discovery Bay and I loved it. I loved giving back, talking with constituents and getting involved in my community.
I always hear people sitting on the sidelines complaining about the way things are but they aren't willing to do anything about it. It wasn't something I had really thought about before, so I really took a couple of months to think [running for council] through.
I have had a tremendous amount of encouragement and support for taking this next step. I believe I'll do a good job if I'm fortunate enough to get elected.
Patch: What are your hot button issues?
Aulman: At the moment, I have two issues I'm very passionate about, though they are broad issues. I totally believe in a balanced budget and fiscal responsibility and I believe less government is good government. Those are two things that are very important to me.
This city has a balanced budget. That's extremely unusual not just for the city but also in the nation right now. I want to work to ensure we continue on that path.
There are certain things we need to put in place, like public safety, but sometimes those things can get a little far reaching.
I have been meeting with city leaders and residents to see what's on the minds of people in Gilroy. I'm in the process of learning what people care about. Those things I mentioned I support, but I'm also looking for what the people in the city support.
I'm the kind of person who likes to look at both sides of an issue and do what's right for the community.
One thing I will say is I'm a very, very strong supporter of local businesses. They are the backbone of our economies.
Patch: Who do you feel is your biggest competition and why?
Aulman: I really don't approach the campaign that way. If I disagree with someone it's going to be on the issues and so far I haven't heard anything to disagree about. I look at the issues only and don't put down what others are doing.
I hate to see the dirt. Either you stand for what you believe in and people stand by you or they don't. Politicians can lose sight of the things that are really important to people when they get to talking about one another.
Patch: What experience do you bring to the position of city councilmember?
Aulman: I have a strong background in budgets and very strong management and leadership skills. At IBM, we had to do 40 hours of management training a year. I did that for 30 years. I have a strong background in public speaking and as working as a team member.
When you work for a state assemblyman, you are talking to constituents all the time, getting information for them and solving whatever problem they have. You have to be professional, know how to listen and see if there is a way to help people. I'm pretty good at all of that.
Since I’m new to Gilroy, I don’t have the name recognition as some of the candidates or those ties to Gilroy, but it’s because of this I can bring fresh ideas and new thoughts to the council.
Patch: What's something you want voters to know about yourself?
Aulman: I love Gilroy. I moved here to be close to my family and it's the best decision I’ve ever made.
I work at the Welcome Center too and I really love that we are really starting to promote this community to the world. I am very involved in the community of Gilroy but I'm also involved in promoting us elsewhere. All the good we get from promoting our city outside of Gilroy is going to come back to benefit the welfare of the community.