I love election season in Athens for so many reasons, one of them being that the vast majority of the candidates who run typically are “good guys,” and I believe this year is no exception. Seeing as City Council positions are non-partisan, we have a rare opportunity to get past the labels and get to know the person, what they stand for, how they view life, what makes them tick, and what kinds of ideas they have for making Athens an even more blessed berg than it already is.
I first heard Chris speak at the Candidates’ event held at Athens State University last summer just prior to the August 28th election. The candidates were asked questions that they actually had to answer from something other than a teleprompter or an ear bud, and I thought Chris had good answers.
That being said, I still asked him the most direct question that I know how to ask, (in or out of an election season,) and that is, “Why should I choose you?”
Following a brief bio below are his answers, and my desire is that this article will inspire the Athenians of District One to see if Chris is “their guy,” and if they believe he is, they’ll make the effort to vote for him on October 9th.
Chris served our country for 7 ½ years as an Air Force officer, and his MOS, or job description, was logistics. Having lived in a combat zone, and observing first hand just what a daunting task it is to get everything from soap to Stinger missiles in country, I have great respect for his experience. His area of expertise was transportation, and prior to his commissioning as an officer, he played football for Alabama, majoring in history and minoring in business. He attended ‘bama on a ROTC scholarship, and got his MBA from USA in Mobile.
He was in the Azores during 9/11, dealt with the stresses of watching the threat level on his base skyrocket overnight, and after getting out in ’05 with the rank of Captain, parlayed all of his experience in college and overseas into becoming a successful regional medical device rep. He is responsible for sales as well as mentoring the 8 guys who are members of his team, and he teaches docs how to successfully use robotic cardiac ablation catheters.
His wife’s name is Tiffany, they met as kids, dated in high school and have two boys, Brock, age 8, and Ben, age 5. Tiffany has been active as a wife, mom, and in the community as part of the Library Foundation, the Athena League, Spirit of Athens and the Athens-Limestone Hospital Foundation. Chris has recommended to both of his sons that they serve their country in the branch of their choice, something that used to be considered a reasonable way to show appreciation for all of our blessings as Americans. For obvious reasons, i.e., his boys, he says he “wants to focus on schools, which he believes are great,” and one of the reasons they chose to raise their children here, and promote the hospital, library and other local institutions.
Chris spends his spare time coaching soccer and youth baseball while he mentors his sons as well as what he hopes are the future leaders of Athens through athletics. He is on the church council at First United Methodist, and is a member of Rotary. The Seibert family lives in the Historical District of Athens, a place where being an active community member just goes with the territory.
Having honorably served his country, Chris now sees it as the time for his generation “to step up and give back to the community.” He says that “the results of the August election show that people want fresh leadership,” and that is one of the reasons he and Joseph Cannon have decided to run. If elected, Chris wants to do the following:
Focus on job growth, attracting high paying, professional jobs that can be located in the downtown core, while continuing to attract large industries retail chains to our industrial parks and major corridors. “We need to make the downtown area a draw for young professionals, developing lofts for residences, and to revitalize the historical district through tourism.”
Make downtown Athens a place where more companies that don’t need infrastructure, (such as Internet Technology companies) can thrive through incentives.
Help ASU and Calhoun develop more defense related curriculum so that defense industry professionals stay in Athens.
Clean up the city, and educate citizens re: the benefits of taking care of their property.
Continue fiscal responsibility by evaluating all programs on an annual basis.
Develop a plan for the next 20 years that utilizes the successful results of other similar municipalities, looking to see what they have done to bring in industry, revenue streams, develop a labor force, and improve quality of life.
Find ways to increase the role of private business partnerships with the public schools, thus assuring that students can be trained as entrepreneurs who are involved in the success of their communities.
At the close of our chat I asked him about his opponent. His response was as gentlemanly as I would have expected. “He’s a good guy, has previously served on the City Council and was not re-elected. That may be a concern to some voters.” If you agree and live in District One, then vote for Chris Seibert on October 9th.
By: Ali Turner