PERRYVILLE — Technically she’s not running for re-election, however Christina Aldridge has been a Perryville town commissioner for almost two years.
Aldridge, 37, was appointed to the seat held by Everett “Pete” Reich, who resigned due to health issues. She was sworn in less than a month after coming in third in the May 2020 election. Robert Ashby, mayor at that time, nominated Aldridge, noting she was only behind the second place winner – Robert Taylor – by two votes.
She and Commissioner Michelle Linkey are on the May 10 ballot for two open seats along with James Baxendell and Jackie Weih.
Aldridge first started coming to Perryville town meetings as the president of the Perryville Elementary School PTO. Then, she got involved in a campaign with her Beacon Point neighbors to stop plans to turn the former Perryville Outlet property into a warehouse.
“That was when I first realized my voice could be heard,” Aldridge said. The move to elected office was an easy next step, she said. “I decided to use my voice in a good way.”
If elected, Aldridge said she would work to improve the lines of communication between residents and town hall.
Using a stormwater flooding issue off Aiken Avenue as as example, Aldridge thinks the town did not do enough.
“We should keep on an issue until it’s solved. Even though it wasn’t our problem it should be our job to give the complainant peace of mind,” she said.
Sworn into office wearing a face mask, Aldridge said it made learning the job a little more difficult and even frustrating.
“I wish I would have known or had more ways to reach out to help people during the pandemic,” she said. “We could have helped more people that were struggling.”
At the same time, Aldridge said COVID made her realize that, as a female business owner herself, more needs to be done to connect women and minority business owners with all the services available including loans and grants.
She would like to bring back a Chamber of Commerce for Perryville.
“And we need incentives, we need reasons for a business to come here,” she said. Among the businesses she’d like to see downtown are boutiques, more restaurants and a coffee shop.
Calling Perryville the exception to the rule, she said in her neighborhood there’s a strong sense of community where the kids play together and feel safe.
“I see Perryville as a residential hot spot where people want to come to live,” she said. “My big passion for being a commissioner is building relationships and bringing communities together.”