Yager-Rushton Running for District 4 Council Seat with Access and Sustainability Goals
Kristine Yager-Rushton, a Statesboro resident and homeowner in District 4 council for 13 years, qualified this week as a candidate for city council. Improving access to downtown and the Georgia Southern campus for pedestrians and cyclists is one of its goals.
âI would love to see Statesboro become an even better and more sustainable community,â Yager-Rushton said in a telephone interview. “It has been a pleasure living here, and some good changes have taken place, but we still have work to do.”
A mayoral race and a liquor store referendum will appear on November 2 ballots across town. But only District 4 voters will decide the contest between Yager-Rushton and incumbent John Riggs, who is finishing his 12th year on the council and is now running for a fourth term.
By the way, each of Statesboro’s five municipal districts is said to contain around 6,000 residents, and District 4 is the most compact. It encompasses part of the university campus and a concentration of neighborhoods east of Fair Road.
Yager-Rushton knows Riggs, he has visited his house and she has nothing against him, she said. They are even the same age, 51 years old.
But other residents had started to encourage him to come forward, especially after Riggs announced last spring that he had no plans to run again. Also hearing encouragement from his supporters, he changed his mind and announced his candidacy last week. So they both signed up and paid their qualifying fees on Monday.
Interviewed on Wednesday, Yager-Rushton spoke about some things she would like to see more of.
“I would like to see more sidewalks, bike paths, better accessibility between our downtown and the campus, because the downtown and the campus have so much to offer to each other and our community is richer. thanks to them both, âshe said.
Yager-Rushton is employed as a potential researcher in the Academic Advancement Services at Georgia Southern. She received a bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of Iowa, where she also met her husband, Edward Rushton, a graduate student at the time. He is now an Associate Professor of Graphic Design in the Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art at Georgia Southern.
Yager-Rushton grew up on a farm near Audubon, Iowa, and today has a population of around 2,000.
âStatesboro reminds me of where I grew up. Bigger of course! she wrote in an email. âBut we have a rather rural community and we rely on our farmers here. “
His parents ‘and grandparents’ farm in Iowa has been recognized as a “farm of the century,” meaning it had been in the family for over 100 years.
“So it’s in my blood and I care,” Yager-Rushton wrote. âFarmers are stewards of the land they own. We should all be stewards of the land we walk on this land. “
One of the reasons she and her husband chose to live where they live, near the university, is that he likes to cycle to work. Likewise, Yager-Rushton wants to improve “accessibility of things” so that residents of Statesboro “don’t have to drive everywhere.” Less driving would be good for the environment, and bike lanes and sidewalks can help make cycling and walking safer, she notes.
For similar reasons, Yager-Rushton likes that the city has a developing bus service, she added.
This is the first time she has run for elected public office. But Yager-Rushton served on the university’s Staff Council, which represents non-teaching employees. Prior to that, she served for approximately a year on the Board of Directors of Mainstreet Farmers Market. She’s the most recent president of the Pine Cove Homeowners’ Association, but the largely informal group hasn’t been very active lately, she said.
She and her husband support the Averitt Center for the Arts and have contributed to several exhibitions in its galleries. She volunteers for Donate Life Georgia, a nonprofit that works to register more organ, eye and tissue donors, as well as the LifeLink Foundation, a transplant procurement agency. bodies serving Georgia, Florida and Puerto Rico.
The Statesboro Herald asked her about a few issues that might be of interest to District 4 running. One was the city’s efforts for diversity and inclusion, including council enactment of the last fall of an ordinance on non-discrimination and fairness.
Its article 1 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as disability, race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age or military status, in employment, housing, real estate and public housing.
âHonestly, I think they did a really good job,â Yager-Rushton said. âLooks like they’re moving forward. There is always more to do.
She noted that among university staff, almost everyone, especially those involved in hiring processes and search committees, receives training on diversity, equity and inclusion.
âThe awareness has to be there, the awareness of the unconscious biases that can occur, so I think the city is making great strides in that direction,â Yager-Rushton said.
In the city ordinance, a second article created a margin of preference for local minority and women owned businesses in bidding for city contracts. It was this article that Riggs called “discriminatory” when he cast the only vote against the ordinance last fall. But he said it also contained “many, many wonderful things” that he fully supported.
Other questions will be addressed in subsequent articles on the candidates.