Incumbent Gabriel Sterling is running for re-election, and Blad is the only known challenger thus far. Qualifying is Monday through Aug. 30 and the nonpartisan election is Nov. 5.
Blad, who has lived in Sandy Springs since 1995, has been active in the city as a volunteer and appointee most of that time. She has served on the board of the Greater Branches Neighborhood Association and the Sandy Springs Conservancy. Blad also has been the District 4 director for the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods.
In 1997, before Sandy Springs became a city, she was appointed to the Fulton County Citizens Commission on the Environment. More recently, Blad was appointed by Sandy Springs Mayor Eva Galambos to the Tree Advisory Committee to write the city’s first tree ordinance. She said her top priorities include keeping the city’s parks department fully funded and maintained.
“As well as neighborhood protection, I have been working on parks and greenspace with the Sandy Springs Council of Neighborhoods and the conservancy,” Blad said in a statement. “But I still see areas for improvement. The most effective way to implement my ideas is to be elected to city council representing District 4.”
Blad is a 2006 graduate of Leadership Sandy Springs and was the co-chair for its 2007 Volunteer for Better Sandy Springs event. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in library and information science from Valdosta State University. She and her husband Robert have two children: Catherine, 21, and April, 19. Blad has worked as a marketing director for a management company and as a librarian for a law firm but currently is not employed to focus on the campaign.
This is her first time running for public office. If elected, Blad said she will also fight to keep the city’s spending low and its zoning in line with its ordinances and promises to residents.
Sterling said he is running again because he still has much to accomplish in office.
“I want to continue to build on the success we’ve [had] over the last couple of years. Remember I came in on a special election and have only been in office two years,” he said, referring to his victory to fill Ashley Jenkins’ seat in 2011 when she stepped down to pursue a career in the travel industry. “I’ve been able to take the lead on adding greenspace to downtown [the proposed city center]. That was not the overall plan originally.
“I continue to [provide] taxpayer savings by rebidding our contracts. Just this year I brought in a new vendor for credit card processing to save the city $60,000 a year. I want to continue to work on traffic, neighborhood protection, replacing our aging Class C apartments with mixed-use and higher-quality housing. And I want to continue to work on our efforts to add single-family and owner-occupied housing to increase the quality of our neighborhoods.”
Information: www.tochieforsandysprings.com and www.gabrielsterling.org.