Nicole George will soon become the new Metro Council representative for District 21, the diverse area that includes Beechmont, Iroquois and Lynnview. The social worker said she plans to listen closely to her constituents as she attempts to bring stable leadership to a district where she will be the third council member in less than two years.
George said she plans to take a data-driven approach to leadership in her district. You can listen to our conversation in the player above.
Your district has gone through a lot of leadership change in the past few years, with Councilman Dan Johnson being removed after sexual harassment allegations. And then you defeated his replacement Vitalis Lanshima in the primary last spring. Do you hear from your constituents concerns about that?
“Absolutely. But I will say we are looking forward to being very consistent to embracing communication folks in the community deserve that we’re looking forward to being drama free and really just being the best projection of ourselves.”
What are some specific examples of the types of projects you want to take on or areas that you might want to divert more funding to?
“No matter where you are in the district, you hear a lot of folks talk about concerns with safety, whether it’s petty crime, or whether it’s violent crime. I’m looking forward to being able to collaborate with folks to bring forth neighborhood-based policing plans. We’re convinced people in the in the neighborhoods know and understand their areas best. What we want to see is folks be able to work with police to be able to say, ‘This is why we know this area needs greater attention.’ Also, we want to see more drug takeback programs. Currently, we only have one drugstore that is a takeback spot. We have one of the highest rates of opioid use, and so I really want to be able to bring about more programs and more attention to the fact that drug takeback programs are one of the safest ways, cost-neutral ways, quite frankly, to be able to get some of the drugs off the street.”
What makes you nervous as you get ready to take office?
“This is a challenge for any leader. But how do you stay the course and not allow the 10 loudest voices in the room to make decisions and to influence the process for the collective body? On the preview side, it’s easy to talk about it and maybe form opinions on it. I recognize it’s another thing when you’re that person in that seat that has to make that vote, and you have heard from 10 of your most passionate community members about something that’s important to them.”
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.