Fisher, Yelton elected to Avondale Estates commission
By Carey O’Neil, contributor
Incumbent commissioner John Quinn was unseated after one term by two challengers in Avondale Estates’ Tuesday election.
Brian Fisher, a senior vice president at ServisFirst Bank, and Adela Yelton, an independent business consultant, were the top-two vote getters in the winner-take-all election. They received 405 and 333 votes respectively, according to preliminary results. Quinn, who lost his seat, placed third with 206 votes. The second seat was vacant.
“I have every confidence our community is in good shape,” Quinn said after learning of Fisher and Yelton’s victories. “They’re fine people, and I have every confidence in them.”
Fisher and Yelton both said they are excited to get started in their new positions and that they had a clear idea of what needs to be done to help the city grow.
“The biggest issue and the one that we’ll spend the most time on is how do we revitalize our downtown area,” Fisher said. “What do we want to be? What type of entity is appropriate for what we want to support?”
Nearly 100 acres are prime for development, he said, and downtown green space will be a top priority to help move that process forward. Fisher envisions a more walkable Avondale that he hopes will attract the types of businesses and organizations city residents want and help grow existing businesses.
“What I would like to see first and foremost is us do a good job of promoting the businesses that are here already,” he said. “Those folks made an investment when a lot of folks wouldn’t. We want to do everything possible to make those people successful.”
Yelton said the best way to attract and keep new business in the community is to grow a solid education system.
“Downtown development and education really go hand in hand,” she said. “Having quality education options for families with young children is what attracts people here and keeps people here.”
Whether developing downtown or building education, Yelton said community involvement has to play a major part. She plans to focus on building a strong sense of volunteerism in Avondale and making sure the right people are in the right positions to help the city be successful.
Both new commissioners celebrated their wins at home with their families Tuesday night. They each have three young children, who each said seemed as excited for their parent’s victory as they were to be able to stay up a little late to hear the results.
Fisher attributed much of his win to Angela Fisher, his wife of nearly 15 years.
“She’s been leading all the campaign efforts so I owe her a lot of kudos,” he said. “She’s the one who put all the really hard work in. I couldn’t be here without her.”
Yelton also thanked her family for their support, as well as the other candidates who campaigned this election season.
“I know firsthand how hard it is running,” she said. “Everyone really helped to create an awareness of the issues the city is facing.”
Quinn, for one, does not plan to leave Avondale public service. He said he’ll still be active in the community, and will be there to offer advice should either of the new commissioners want it.
“Just pick up a phone and call,” he said. “I’ll be happy to talk with them.”