Our Votes DID Matter
On August 23, 2016, the citizens of Vestavia Hills turned out in record numbers to support the candidates of their choice. Approximately 6,500 votes were cast over six precincts, which represents a 39% turnout, compared to a 9% turnout in the previous 2012 municipal election. By comparison, in 2012, fewer than 2000 votes were cast.
The higher turnout appeared to favor challenger candidates. Candidate Kimberly Cook, elected to Vestavia Hills City Council, Place 2, had this to say about voter turnout:
“I believe the higher than usual turnout can be attributed to a larger number of voter choices. In 2012, there were only two contested races, but this year, our city had choices in every seat--including mayor. For a city our size, to have 11 candidates running for municipal office shows a surge of citizen engagement that is impressive. Vestavia Hills is fortunate to have such a large number of citizens who are willing to offer themselves for public service. I am proud of our candidates for running vigorous campaigns that helped increase voter awareness and excitement about participating in local government.”
Highest voter increases were shown in Cahaba Heights (274% increase), Liberty Park (273% increase), Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church (253% increase) and Town Village (189% increase). The city also had a higher number of absentee ballots than ordinary (174).
On the day after Election Day, Cook said:
“The central theme of my campaign was to increase transparency, accountability and community engagement. I look forward to working with our council team to take a fresh look at how we can make our city better for all citizens. I believe government is smarter when it involves more people. I am honored so many in our city supported me in my campaign, and I look forward to earning their respect and trust.
I am proud my neighbors demonstrated, by going to the polls yesterday, they believe their votes matter. The citizens of Vestavia Hills demonstrated the power of their voice when they marked their ballot. I am honored to represent all of our city for the next four years.”
Cook Files Qualification Papers
Tuesday, July 5, 2016, Kimberly Cook filed her qualification papers as a candidate for Seat 2, Vestavia Hills City Council. Qualification ends at 5pm on July 19. The municipal election will be August 23.
Cook said, "I look forward to taking my message to the voters. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to vote on August 23 if you want your voice to be heard."
To register to vote, check your polling place and see precinct open and close times, go to alabamavotes.gov.
To vote absentee, go to this link and download the municipal absentee ballot application. (Paper copies of the application will also be available in the City Clerk's office at City Hall.) Complete the application, including your signature and the signature of a witness. (No notarization is required.) Mail the completed, signed application to the following address:
City of Vestavia Hills
Attn: Rebecca Leavings, Absentee Manager
1032 Montgomery Hwy.
Vestavia, AL 35216
Upon receipt and verification of the application, the Absentee Manager, Rebecca Leavings, will mail the ballot and instructions to the address on the application. Follow the instructions for completing the ballot and mail to the address provided.
According to Rebecca Leavings, Election Official for the City of Vestavia Hills, absentee ballots must each be mailed in an individual envelope, one ballot per envelope, directly to the address provided in the instructions. If ballots are hand-delivered, they must be delivered to the Absentee Manager's office in City Hall, by the voter himself/herself. Family members or friends may not hand-deliver ballots for others.
Cook Announces Formation of Campaign Committee
On May 12, 2016, Kimberly Cook filed papers for the formation of her campaign committee for Vestavia Hills City Council. Members of her committee are Chris Blazer (campaign manager), Gil Simmons (treasurer), Deloye Burrell, Scott Smithson and Celia Anthony.
Kimberly indicated that her intent is to qualify for Place 2, the seat being vacated by Councilor Jim Sharp, who has served in that capacity for sixteen years.
Kimberly is a long-time resident of Vestavia Hills. Shortly before moving to Vestavia Hills in 2002, she resigned her job as a senior systems engineer with SouthTrust Data Services so she could devote more time to her family and community volunteerism. She is a commissioner for the Vulcan District Boy Scouts, membership chairman for the Vulcan District Committee, and is an active leader in her son’s Liberty Park Boy Scout troop.
Kimberly also serves as secretary of the Brother Bryan Mission Board. She is active in her church, having taught youth Sunday School for over 20 years at Dawson Family of Faith. In her many years as a PTO mom, she has served in a variety of PTO positions at four schools.
When asked her reason for running for city council, she said, “In my interviews for school board the mayor and council encouraged me to invest my talents in another capacity in our city. I decided city council was a great place for me to engage.”
Kimberly stated she looks forward to talking with Vestavia Hills residents and businesses to better understand their concerns: "I believe including the collective voice of our community in the decisions that shape our future allows city government to arrive at smart solutions. I enjoy untangling a problem and providing clarity."
Kimberly’s husband, Greg, is a partner in the law firm of Balch & Bingham, LLP. Greg serves on the Executive Committee for the Jefferson County Republican Party and is a deacon at Dawson Family of Faith. Kimberly has two children who have graduated from Vestavia Hills High School--Geoffrey, Class of 2010, and Mary Catherine, Class of 2014. Her son, Will, is currently a freshman and member of the Rebel Marching Band. Geoffrey, a graduate of the University of Alabama, lives in Washington, D.C., where he is employed as a software developer. Mary Catherine is a junior at Vanderbilt University, studying political science in preparation for law school.