by Max Marbut
When Pat Lockett-Felder was elected and moved into the City Council District 7 office eight years ago, she said two things didn’t have to change much: her motivation and her location.
“I had worked in the senior citizen community before I was elected. I feel God gave me this job because there was work he wanted me to do,” said Lockett-Felder. “He wanted me to help people and I think senior citizens need me more than anybody.
“I didn’t have to go very far when I first came aboard because I was the assistant coordinator in the Minority Business Office here at City Hall. I just had to move from the third floor up to the fourth floor.”
One of things she’s most proud to have been able to get for the people of her district is a swimming pool and park on Hart Road.
“It was the first pool built on the Northside since 1982 and we put it right next to a senior living facility. We built a walking path for the seniors to use that has benches along it so they can sit and rest.”
A clinic on East 21st Street is another first and a major contribution to the district, said Lockett-Felder.
“It’s staffed and run by Shands (Hospital). More than 50 patients use it every day and they come from as far away as Oceanway and Soutel Drive. It also serves the people who live in the subsidized housing in the area with prenatal and pediatric care. The whole community uses that clinic,” she said.
One of the most important city-wide issues she tackled was an ordinance that was written to privatize trash pickup Downtown. Lockett-Felder called it the “garbage bill.”
About two dozen solid-waste workers came to her office to ask for her help to defeat the bill so they could keep their jobs. They were concerned the same thing would happen to them that had already happened to the staff at the City’s printing shop when it closed.
“One man told me he only made $14,000 a year and his wife worked at Krystal. They had three children and the only way they were able to make it was because the family had health insurance benefits from the City. Some of the men had worked for many years and couldn’t read and write, so it would be hard for them to find another job in these days.”
First she introduced an ordinance to prohibit privatization of City departments and divisions without public hearings and a Council vote. Then Lockett-Felder went to work to get her legislation approved.
“I told Mayor John Delaney he had a fight on his hands. I did it just like a campaign. One day we had a picket line outside City Hall and a 5-year-old girl carried a sign that said ‘Mr. Mayor, please don’t take my daddy’s job.’
“Mayor Delaney saw that and a couple of days later just before the Council was going to vote on the garbage bill, I passed him in the hall and he waved his handkerchief at me. He said ‘I surrender. You win. I’m withdrawing the bill.’ ”
Lockett-Felder said she isn’t finished with public service and has opened her campaign account to run for State Representative in District 14.
“Tell the governor I’m on my way,” she said.