UNION — Greater involvement by residents in their community and greater involvement by the community in the lives of its residents is the goal of Union City Council District 1 candidate Tyra Lindsey Parham.
A Union native and graduate of Union High School, Parham attended SC State College before enlisting in the US Army. She spent 20 years in the Army before retiring as a Staff Sergeant (E6). After leaving the military, Parham attended Spartanburg Community College where she received a Certificate of Entrepreneurship. She is currently employed by the US Postal Service.
Parham and her husband, Jerry, have four children and eight grandchildren. She is a member of the Chambertown Community Lighthouse Church.
The race for the District 1 city council seat is Parham’s first bid for public office and she said one of the reasons she is running is to help promote unity and community involvement by the residents of the district. She said if elected she will use her seat on council to get the people of District 1 more involved in addressing the needs of the district.
“I feel like the people need a new voice, a voice of unity,” Parham said. “First of all, I’d encourage the people to get involved and build up our district. The district won’t change until the people get involved.”
One of the changes Parham said she’d like to see and will push for on council is for the city to demolish the many abandoned buildings in the district.
“I understand there’s a process involved, but some of those abandoned houses have been there forever and the grass has grown up over them,” Parham said.
Parham also wants to see a community youth center built to provide the city’s youth with a place to go to enjoy activities, both with their peers and with their families. She said she sees this as a way of keeping the city’s young people out of the kind of trouble that can deprive them of the opportunity to better themselves.
“We need a youth center to help keep young people out of trouble,” Parham said. “With no place to go and nothing to do they can get into trouble, end up in jail and when they get out nobody will hire them.”
Just as a youth center can help keep young people from getting into trouble, Parham said gainful employment can help keep those who have been in trouble and gotten a criminal record from getting into even more trouble. To give them a chance at getting employment, Parham said she will push for the city to offer tax incentives to companies that hire those individuals. She said the tax breaks would be similar to the incentives used to encourage companies to locate in the community.
“If they will do it to bring companies in, then why not for the citizens,” Parham said.
The youth center and the tax incentives are part of Parham’s overall belief that not only must people in the community get involved to make themselves heard and their needs addressed, the community must pay attention to those who have not been previously been heard and address their needs.
“People need to know that they are important,” Parham said. “A lot of times we look over people or ignore people because of their status. If they don’t own a business or have a certain type of house we ignore them, but they are part of the community and the community should pay attention to them.”
The Union City Council District 1 seat will be on the Nov. 4 general election ballot.
Also running for the seat are Tommy Hill (incumbent), Don Shetley, and Tommy Anthony.