As a lifelong resident of the Essex community, Calvin Kinney said he is entering the mayoral race for the city of Essex with no agenda, just a love for the community.
Kinney said serving the community is in his blood and always has been. He watched his father serve as the mayor of Essex from 1976 to 1998 and then from 2002 until his passing in 2007. Kinney himself has served on the Essex City Council for the past 13 years and served on Essex Fire and Rescue for 33 years retiring in 2018.
Kinney has been part of the team at Select Motors in Shenandoah since 1989, purchasing the business in 2009. As a father of four, he is proud to say all have graduated from the Essex Community School as he did in 1983.
Kinney has served the community in other ways, volunteering his time with community and school events and helping city crews when needed.
“It’s not a matter of serving as the mayor or serving as a councilman as much as serving the community,” said Kinney.
Only missing one City Council meeting in the past 13 years, Kinney prides himself in being committed to the community and doing the job he was elected to do. He also excused himself for two other meetings while on the city council when his son was interviewing for a job with the city.
If elected, Kinney said understanding the process of the city government and being part of the process for the past 13 years will benefit him. He said having the knowledge and understanding of what each role does, from the mayor, council to the department heads, is essential.
While Kinney said communication has not been bad, he said there is always room for improvements in this area. He would also like to pick up the pace when possible in addressing city and resident’s concerns or issues.
An important part of being in public service is to listen and listen to everyone Kinney said.
“We have to listen to everybody, including people that may not like us or may not support us,” said Kinney. “If you’re elected, you’re there to serve everyone.”
He also considers himself very accessible, consistent, easy to talk to, and holds himself accountable for his actions. While growing up and living in Essex, Kinney said the glass has never been half empty but half full instead.
Kinney said it takes a community working together before change and improvements can be made.
“Together, we can make a difference,” said Kinney. “I think that’s the biggest thing that we all need to realize is I may hold a title, but I can’t make changes without number one being part of the process and working within the process. We, as a community, that’s where the big change happens. There are no limits to what we as a community can achieve.”