Liz Reese recently announced her candidacy for Lebanon Ward 2 City Council Member.
Reese is a longtime resident of Ward 2. She was born in Smith County and her parents relocated the family to Lebanon, Ward 2, specifically, when she was 4 years old. "I've been in Ward 2 all my life. I grew up here and I'm still fighting for the people every day, in some form or fashion."
Reese currently serves as Executive Director of Brooks House, a shelter for women located in Ward 2.
Reese follows a protocol of "asking, seeking and knocking on doors," if need be, to help the ladies of Brooks House get their lives back on track. If elected, she plans to apply that same approach to meeting the needs of her Ward.
Reese, who also serves as Vice Chair on the Lebanon Housing Authority Board, said she wants to be a voice for the people.
"I am not afraid to speak up and speak out. I'm not afraid to go that last mile with them. I'm not afraid to fight for the people," she said. "Your concerns may be something I've never seen, but I want to make sure your concerns are being heard."
Reese commented that on every street in Ward 2 there is something that needs to be addressed.
The Wilson County Expo Center and Wilson County Fair are both located in her ward. She said that yes, she would like to see hotels and restaurants built to accommodate tourists; however, her main focus in on Ward 2 as a "neighborhood."
"In Ward 2 we have a lot of children who have nothing to do. A Boys and Girls Club would be wonderful. We have a lot of empty facilities that are not being utilized. Let's bring the kids together and give them some opportunities," she said.
"Yes, I would like to see more businesses. There are a lot of people not employed, who need to be employed. You can't say it is because we don't have jobs, because we do. But let's take a step back," she explained. "Teach them how to work - how to get transportation. I want young people to know they can have businesses and opportunities, they just need to know how to do it and when to do it."
Reese has thought about running for the city council seat for many years and discussed the idea with her mother before she passed away.
"She was not a big hero of that at one point. Then, when she got sick, she really pushed it. She told me, 'You need to do something that will keep you occupied in the community,'" Reese recalled. "On August 15 she asked me if I got my petition signed. I said, no mom. I would be the last one to turn it in. She grabbed my hand and said, 'Remember this scripture - that the last shall be made first. Even though you are the last one, who knows, God might make you first."
Reese added that even on her deathbed, her mom was concerned about the future of Ward 2. "She was thinking about what changes could be made. She said, 'You are a representative of the people.'"
Reese is not seeking fame or fortune with the public office, only a change to show what can be completed with dedication and team work.
"I work hard. I don't mind working hard. I think working with the city council is going to be a great opportunity," she said. "Not to be a 'yes' person, but someone who will bring all avenues together. We need to tear down the walls that separate us."
Reese has received numerous awards and accolades for her charitable work, including: the Resilience Award from TN Workforce for her work with Hurricane Katrina victims; 2008 Humanitarian Award from Wilson County Civic League; Governor's Volunteer Award for Wilson County, and more.