Anne Villalobos, a resident of Milford for the past eight years, has filed to run for the First Ward council seat vacated when Councilman Garrett Grier decided to step down when his term ends in May. Mrs. Villalobos will face Archie Campbell, the current chairman of the Planning Commission, for the seat.
“I grew up in Bridgeville,” Mrs. Villalobos said. “For the past 14 years, I have been working at Beebe Healthcare as a nurse, currently in their non-invasive cardiac lab. My husband, Osiel Villalobos, and our children, Aiden, who is 13, and Avery, who is 10, moved here from Seaford a little over eight years ago for a few different reasons. My husband and I were already familiar with Milford from childhood and always liked the town. We both commute to work as he drives to New Jersey each day and I drive to Lewes, so Milford is the perfect starting point for both of us while still allowing us to live close to our families.” Mrs. Villalobos said that Milford also proved to be affordable and desirable for a young family, unlike areas around the places where the couple works.
Mrs. Villalobos said she decided to run for council at the prompting of a friend. She said that she felt her friend’s suggestion was a vote of confidence, which goes a long way. She said the suggestion started her thinking about the community, its future as well as how she and her family fit in. Mrs. Villalobos said the deciding factors were that she could work for the community and that it would be a good learning experience for her family. She said she hoped her campaign would show her children one of the many ways to use time to better the environment around them.
One of the issues Mrs. Villalobos sees facing Milford is the city’s growth, which she views as a positive thing. However, Mrs. Villalobos says that growth also prompts other issues, such as keeping resources up-to-date and supporting the growth with police, fire protection, utilities and more. She said that expecting the police force to be effective without the means to do so is unacceptable. Mrs. Villalobos said that the city needed to continually review resources and look for ways that they can improve but remain fiscally responsible.
“In my ward in particular, the building of the new Bayhealth facility will prompt new issues with roadway capacities, utilities and expansion of the town itself,” Mrs. Villalobos said. “As of right now, portions of Ward 1 feel disconnected from the town. With careful planning and preparation, we can change that.”
Mrs. Villalobos said that her main goal should she be elected is to do right by the community. She said she wants people in the ward to feel comfortable approaching her with issues or suggestions that she could address for them. She said that whether it is simply finding out an answer to a question, pointing the constituent in the right direction or addressing the matter at a council meeting, she hoped that people would feel comfortable coming to her. Mrs. Villalobos said that she hoped to be a thoughtful and effective contributor on council.
As for what council could do better, Ms. Villalobos said she was not sure as it appeared that current members seemed to work well together. She said she would be attending council meetings up until the election, so she may gain more insight into what could be done differently. She believes that maintaining a balance and having more of a gender balance on council would be beneficial for the town.
“This is my first time ever trying anything like this,” Mrs. Villalobos said. “The entire experience will be challenging. Just learning the ins and outs of the process of council, balancing it with time with my family responsibilities and work will be a challenge, but at the same time rewarding.” Mrs. Villalobos said she was looking forward to helping others and being a part of an exciting time for the community. She said she looked forward to talking to residents in her ward and learning about their concerns and hopes for the community.
Mrs. Villalobos said that she would like to see Milford move in a direction of balanced growth. She said that while Milford has and will be seeing a growth in retirement population from surrounding states, she felt the city also needed to be a place that young families wanted to live in. She hoped to help create a town that young people would like to return to and start their own adult lives. Mrs. Villalobos comes from a family of small business owners over three generations, so she feels maintaining a strong small business-friendly town is important.
“I look at the changes our town has already seen since I moved here and it is positive,” Mrs. Villalobos said. “The downtown has much more activity, small business is growing, we have a scenic Riverwalk and nature trail, dog park, etc. City Council has been a big part of that growth.”
The election for the vacant seat in the First Ward will be held Saturday, April 23, 2016 between noon and 8 pm. Voters must live in Ward I of the City of Milford and must be registered to vote with the city. State and national registration to vote does not qualify residents as they must also be registered with the city. For more information on voter registration, individuals can call 424-3712.