Lisa Jackson, mom of three and CAbi consultant, rested her weary feet after a morning of performing her mayoral duties. Her elementary school age daughter played quietly beside her. As we sat on a couch in the back of Emily’s Coffee Shop she began to tell me about how she won the November 2013 election for mayor of Cibolo, Texas.
|Mayor Lisa Jackson’s first community event – Cajun Cookoff|
“My husband and I had moved to the San Antonio area [four years ago] because we just wanted to chill out, for lack of a better word. We wanted a nice, peaceful life that was affordable to finish raising our family, and we wanted to be close to his family in Louisiana. We also wanted sunshine, which isn’t something that we had in the Pacific Northwest. A political career definitely was not in the cards. If you’d told me even six months ago (in July) that I was going to be running for office, I would have said, ‘No way.’“
Lisa’s political career began when she realized that a popular big box store had plans for building right across the street from her daughter’s school. She was concerned and decided that she needed to try to put a stop to it. She began attending town council meetings and she made her voice loud enough to be heard, “I had never been to a council meeting before and I felt kind of embarrassed about that. I almost had this shame on me feeling that I hadn’t been paying attention – a lot of us [in the community] felt that way. It was kind of an awakening for everyone,” she said.
As she attended more council meetings she began to learn about how city government works. It was summer time, so her kids were home all day, which made the process difficult. It didn’t stop her, though. Eventually, the scorching hot summer faded, however, Lisa’s concern for her community didn’t. As soon as Lisa dropped her kids off for their first day of school on August 28,, 2013, she drove down to Cibolo City Hall in order to find out who was running for office in the coming election. “I was shocked with all of the concern that was being shown in the community that only one person was on the ballot,” she told me, “I just felt like the people needed a choice. So, I looked into what it meant to be a mayor and all of the things that the job required, and while it is a very big task – and I am finding that out now daily – I just felt like people needed a choice, so I put my application in with the encouragement of my husband.”
Lisa ran a grassroots style low budget campaign. Thankfully, her CAbi business had already helped her become known within her community. “There were clearly a lot of people that I didn’t know, but with all of the networking that I had already done with my business, I was able to jump right in and network even more from the political perspective. We ended up winning by just four votes. So, it was pretty amazing. Humbling really. I went into the whole thing wanting to win, but I also prepared myself so that if I didn’t win it was okay. I really just wanted to give the people a choice, and I also wanted to see more people come to the polls. We had very low voter turn out in the past, so it was my goal to get more people to come out to the polls, and we did that,” she said.