Tammy C. Pearson, active in several businesses in Martinsville, says she wants to be part of the Martinsville City Council so she can represent small businesses.
ELECTION 2020: Martinsville business owner becomes candidate for city council – Martinsville BulletinCMS
ELECTION 2020: Martinsville business owner becomes candidate for city council
She is among five candidates who filed by June 9 for three seats on the ballot in November. The race is nonpartisan, and the top three with the most votes win. Three of those candidates are incumbents — Mayor Kathy Lawson, Vice-Mayor Chad Lawson and council member Jim Woods — and Nelson Edwards also has filed to run.
Pearson, 54, is the president, owner and operator of Shindig an Uptown Bistro + Catering in Martinsville and is responsible for the marketing, training and human resources for Sportlanes and Ten Pin Cafe in Collinsville and Wild Magnolia restaurant in Martinsville.
“I grew up in Bassett, went to Bassett High School, went to Virginia Tech and received my undergraduate degree in English,” Pearson said. “I moved around pretty much all over the country and completed my graduate work in business management at Boston University.”
She moved back to the area 16 years ago because, she said, she wanted to be closer to her parents and raise her three children in a small town.
“At that time I worked for CenturyLink, so I was able to be a telecommuter,” Pearson said. “I worked a number of different jobs for CenturyLink because I was in the executive director program, so they kind of moved me around a lot.
“So I did everything from sales to marketing to training and development.”
Pearson said she was reluctant to become a candidate for city council, but her husband, Will Pearson, and others convinced her.
“It took me a long time to say I was indeed going to run,” Pearson said. “Will’s been asking me for the last year, and I’ve had a number of people that I’d be talking to and a lot of people complain and talk about various issues going on in the community. And a number of different people said, ‘We think you should run,’ so Will and I prayed about it, and we got our children involved because I wanted them to support it, because it would take away some time from them. And the children were all thumbs up.”
The concerns of small business owners are a priority for Pearson.
“I’m a small business owner, and I’ve been on a number of different boards such as MURA [Martinsville Uptown Revitalization Association] and things like that, and I saw a lot of issues in becoming a small business — a lot of hurdles you had to jump over — and I think it should be much easier for small businesses to start here,” Pearson said. “That’s what this country is built on, so I really feel that I could represent small businesses on city council.
“There’s just so many different issues and negatives going on in our community that I want to turn into positives.”
Pearson called herself a “research nerd” and liked to spend the time necessary to study the background of issues, such as reversion, before forming an opinion or making decisions.
“I want to make sure that we’re making decisions that are right, not just short-term,” Pearson said. “I think oftentimes we get a short-term deal and I think it needs to be a long-term view because we’ve got to think about future generations that this is going to impact.
“I think now is the time more than ever because of what’s happening with reversion that we put our voices forward. I think that’s extremely important. I think you have to really understand each other and the impacts and that’s where the research comes into play.
“I want to be able to know the pros, the cons, short term, long term – I think that’s very important and I want to honestly share that with the community.”
This is Pearson’s first time running for an elected office.
“I was a little nervous about – quote – becoming a politician – because I don’t think I’m going to be good at like back-end kind of good-ole-boys-club kind of thing, that’s not where I think I can really do well,” Pearson said. “So I’m going to be transparent, and I’m going to be honest.
“I think you can already tell I have a pretty positive view.”
Bill Wyatt is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. He can be reached at 276-638-8801, Ext. 236. Follow him @billdwyatt
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