Newly-elected Catoosa County District 3 Commissioner Vanita Hullander took her seat on the board for the first meeting of her term on Tuesday, Jan. 5, a day after being sworn into office.

After defeating 12-year incumbent Jim Cutler for the seat in the election, Hullander says she was excited to get started in her new role after spending several years as the county’s coroner.

“I was excited prior to the meeting to be able to sit in the District 3 Commissioner seat,” Hullander said. “This was a progression of my personal vision for public service. I am used to being in the public eye and thankful nerves didn’t interfere.”

After being sworn into office Monday, Jan. 4, at The Colonnade, Hullander was able get acclimated to the board with the pre-meeting work session.

“It will take some time adjusting from coroner to commissioner, but I will get there,” Hullander said. “Getting the first meeting under my belt will help move in that direction. There was a short agenda, which was the perfect situation for a first-time meeting. I was in awe of the difference in sitting behind the podium versus in the auditorium.”

Hullander says the work session experience is something she hopes residents will take advantage of in the future.

“Having a work session prior to the meeting was extremely beneficial,” Hullander said. “I know 5 p.m. is early, but I would love to see the public come to the work session and hear how a lot of things are discussed and resolved in the work session. I hope we will start streaming the work session for public convenience so the public will know what issues are discussed prior to the meeting.”

As for her plans during her term, Hullander says she’s excited to bring a new perspective to the board.

“As a new commissioner, I have a lot of fresh ideas,” Hullander said. “I believe we can do a lot with a little. District 3 and the county’s infrastructure as a whole are my priorities. The citizens deserve good roads and freedom from storm water issues. I am also dedicated to giving the Graysville residents relief from the railroad crossing. I grew up there, and I hear their pain. I believe this is a can-do project that will become a reality.”

While she’s shifting gears from coroner to commissioner, Hullander says she plans on being available to the public now that she has more time on her hands.

“What I bring most to this seat is time and availability,” she said. “Being retired, I will be in the community talking to people and seeing what the needs are. I am a firm believer in town hall meetings and citizen panels that will help be my eyes and ears to the district’s needs. While campaigning, I was amazed at all the local business and retired business talents we have in this county that can give valuable input. I want to tap into this resource.”

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009.

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