Donna Marsh just completed her first year on Petersburg’s Borough Assembly. KFSK’s Hannah Flor sat down with Marsh to talk about what her first year in office has been like, what she’s learned, and what’s surprised her. Marsh says she was inspired to run for the seat when she didn’t see her views represented on the Assembly.

(Photo courtesy of Donna Marsh)

Marsh: There were so many issues within the last three or four years that just had risen to the surface, where I thought, surely there has to be another viewpoint. And I didn’t think I was the only one in town with that other viewpoint. So I wrote letters to the assembly, I showed up at meetings, and presented my ideas and realized that there were other people out there who shared common ideas. So that was kind of the thing that helped motivate me to put up or shut up.

Flor: Were you excited about the idea of running? Or did it take you a while to realize that you are the person who was going to have to do it?

Marsh: I had deliberated for some time. Should I could I, you know, with everything going on in life. But I decided, yeah, you know, if not now, when, if not me who? So I jumped in.

Flor: What has surprised you about the experience of being on the assembly this last year?

Marsh: I don’t know about any surprises – validated that I can’t make everybody happy. And I may not be in the majority. But that’s okay. I have been humbled by people who, whether we agree politically, offer their thanks and appreciation for my time on the board. So that’s always nice to be appreciated. And, you know, I think it’s easy to find where people are divided. But I think more often, we have things that are common. And I think those are good things to build on. I think people in town, regardless of their political stripes, want a really awesome community. And we’ve got that in so many ways.

Flor: And does it feel like that has become more apparent to you since being on the assembly, because people tell you those things in response to your time there?

Marsh: Yeah, it is encouraging. There’s  so much good.

Flor: Is there anything that you’ve changed your mind on in the last year?

Marsh: Perhaps that people bring a perspective that is not always evident. For example, I am not in favor of the new hospital. I think it’s too grandiose an idea. I think it’s going to be a fabulous facility. But I think it’s too much for Petersburg, I don’t think we can support it, sustain it, maintain it, fill it, fund it. But those who are passionately for it, have a unique perspective as well. And I appreciate that. And I appreciate the need that we’ve got an aging facility where we are, and there needs to be some improvements.

Flor: It sounds like you’re saying that you see that those people who are for it, are for it in good faith?

Marsh: I believe so.

Flor: Is there anything that you wish people better understood about serving on the assembly or about what this assembly does?

Marsh: It is a huge time commitment. And the issues are heavy. People will say – ask me, “Are you having fun?” No, short answer. Because I don’t think it’s about having fun. I think it’s about helping come to resolutions that are financially sound, that make sense, that are sustainable. So  is the job fun? Not at all.

Flor: What would you say to people considering running for assembly?

Marsh: Absolutely. Go for it. It’s nice to have conversation and dialogue and exchange of ideas. And whether I agree with that person or not, are in the minority or not – that’s fine, but get the ideas out there because people have a lot to contribute.

This is the 1st of a 2-part series with freshmen assembly members. The second can be found here. The next municipal election is Tuesday, October 3rd. The deadline to file for candidacy for Borough Assembly is Tuesday, August 12 at 4:30 pm when the municipal building closes.