Hoch Publishing Company, owner of the Marion County Record¸ Hillsboro Star-Journal, and Peabody Gazette-Bulletin, asked all candidates in Marion County to respond to questions regarding the reason they are seeking election or re-election.
Florence mayor candidate Gregory Winn, City Council Ward 1 candidate Randy V. Mills, and Ward 2 candidate Edwin H. Robinson Sr. declined to respond.
Florence Mayor Candidate
Mary L. Shipman
1) Why do you want to be elected to office?
Shipman: “I feel that it is time for a change. In the past year, we’ve lost our grocery store and we are losing our veterinary clinic. Something has to be done to keep and support businesses in town. We need to bring new life to Florence.”
2) Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the current administration? Why?
Shipman: “I feel that the current administration needs a new voice, a spark, and some new ideas on how to save Florence from becoming obsolete or just a ‘spot in the road.’”
3) What is your background and/or qualifications for office?
Shipman: “I retired from Raytheon Airport where I was a shop analyst. My duties were to monitor and maintain the productivity of more than 100 employees. My greatest qualification for this position is that I love this town and its people. I’m willing to do everything I can to the best of my ability.”
4) What are your goals for the city? How do you plan to accomplish them?
Shipman: “Florence has a great heritage and we need to build on that. We are the crossroads of the nation and nowhere is that apparent to visitors. We need something on the highway near the roundabout to get people to stop, look around, and say, ‘Hey, this is a great little town.’”
5) What is the most important issue facing the city? Why?
Shipman: “A few weeks ago, I was visiting a friend who grew up in Florence but had not been here for a while. She said that she drove downtown to reminisce and was shocked because there was so little there. We need something! We need more businesses in town that require employees, beginning with a grocery store.”
6) Tell us about yourself — career, family, residence, etc.
Shipman: “I have lived in Florence for more than 40 years in the same house and have raised five children here. I have always worked out of town but recently retired and now have the time and energy to devote to my hometown.”