After running unsuccessfully for Franklin’s Ward 4 alderman seat in 2017, Elizabeth Wanczak wanted to take a step back while still remaining active in the community.
Wanczak, 34, began serving on Franklin’s housing commission, including two years as chair.
Now, she’s announcing her second run for the seat, which has been held by Alderman Margaret Martin since 2009. As of the end of February, Wanczak has already fundraised $12,000.
From the high school debate team to earning a bachelor’s degree in political science at Sewanee, Wanczak said she has always had an interest in discussions about creating smart infrastructure.
Her time on the housing commission reignited an interest in how policymaking affects every aspect of the community.
“Housing is not separate from the economy,” she said.
Her platform includes promoting smart growth, fiscal responsibility and affordable housing. She mentioned support for a current bill making its way through the Franklin Board of Mayor and Aldermen that would provide incentives to developers for building affordable homes.
Wanczak, her husband, Nick, and their children, ages 2 and 5, have lived in Franklin for 12 years in the Spencer Hall neighborhood.
She said her status as a young mother would bring representation to a demographic that makes up a large part of the city’s population, pointing out there isn’t currently a board member with a young family.
“I think it’s good to have some people [on the board] who haven’t lived here their whole life, and also of a different generation,” Wanczak said.
She pointed to improving parks and connectivity, like the sidewalk extension currently under construction on New Highway 96, as investments she and many young families want to see continue.
As a Christian, Wanczak said, “serving others is my creed.”
“I love this town and am choosing to raise my family,” she continued, addressing residents who may not know much about her: “I will be a tireless advocate for them. I’m approachable, and I want to be accessible.”
In 2017, the Ward 4 race garnered under 1,000 votes, with just 9% of registered voters in the city casting a ballot. Wanczak received 40% of the vote to Martin’s 59%, a difference of 182 ballots.
This year, Wanczak hopes for at least 12% voter turnout and plans to continue interacting with voters, albeit in a different manner than in the previous election.
“The pandemic has brought out so much creativity in campaigns, and we are planning to do safe and socially distanced meet and greets at parks, a lot of Facebook lives and Zoom town halls, but we will also be hitting the pavement as much as possible for contactless interactions as well as some socially distanced canvassing,” Wanczak said. “I’m very excited to get back to talking with voters and the residents of Ward 4.”
To learn more about Wanczak, visit www.liz4alderman.com or follow her on Twitter (@Liz4Alderman), Facebook and Instagram.