COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) — The first female mayor in Covington says she doesn't view herself as a politician.
Sherry Carran told The Kentucky Enquirer (http://bit.ly/WqmarG) that she gave up studying city planning in the 1970s because she didn't want to participate in local politics. She decided to pursue architecture, but ended up serving in local politics anyway.
"I began to realize that our elected officials really didn't have a handle on a lot of issues they were voting on," she said. "I always say, there are two things that affect people on a daily basis: land use issues and politics. Land use issues, I was already dealing with. And I decided with the politics, you have to deal with it one way or another, so I decided to run for city office in 2006."
She served there for six years before becoming the first female mayor of Covington, which is northern Kentucky's largest city.
But she still doesn't consider herself a politician.
"I started out as a community activist, and I'm still a community activist," she said. "I've never seen myself as a politician. Technically I am, but I've never seen myself as a politician, and I don't believe I've ever acted as a politician."
During her time in public office, Carran has gotten experience in regional issues through involvement with groups such as the Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments, a transportation planning agency involved in the Brent Spence Bridge replacement; and Vision 2015, the Northern Kentucky community visioning initiative.
"She's interacted with a lot of people, and built credibility through a quiet, passionate, thoughtful model of leadership," said Mark Neikirk, director of Northern Kentucky University's Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement.
"I think that's one of Sherry's strengths: she has this real passion for the City of Covington, but she's very at home working with the neighboring cities and neighboring city leaders," he said. "When you look through the city's history, that's not always been the case; there have been some strained relationships between the Dixie Highway cities and Covington, but she does not exhibit that at all."
Carran assumes the spot during a critical juncture for the city, which is on the cusp of an economic rebirth.
"I think Sherry is going to be a great leader for the city of Covington," said Commissioner Steve Frank. "She was shoulder to shoulder with (previous mayor) Chuck Scheper and the rest of the commission in setting the direction of the city (last year), and we're now transitioning from cost containment to a period of growth."
Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com