In the City of Auburn municipal election on Aug. 23, voters will decide between incumbent Kelley Griswold and challenger Paul West. Both served in the U.S. Army and retired as field grade officers.
Kelley Griswold has served on the Auburn City Council for four years. He is an Army veteran who graduated from Auburn University and received his Commission on the same day in 1977. He served 26 years in the military, retiring as a colonel.
Griswold has lived in Auburn since retiring 10 years ago. He has been involved with city politics for some time. He attended the Citizen’s Planning Academy and Public Safety Academy and was also part of a group that sought to limit building heights in downtown Auburn.
“I got the impression that the citizens weren’t being listened to when it came down to the City Council decisions,” Griswold said. “So that’s when I decided to run, and I did, and we’ve made a lot of improvements since then.”
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Griswold says he brings “an awful lot of management and planning experience” from his time in research and development in the Army. He says listening to people and making them feel heard is most important to him.
In his time on the council, he has headed the commission task force, stood behind the Neighborhood Conservation zones, and pushed to make public meetings transparent.
If elected, he said, he wants to stay on that path and continue protecting auburn’s residential neighborhoods.
“I’m extremely proud of what we’ve done with the City Council over the last four years,” Griswold said. “We always have room for improvement, but I think we’re on the right path. And I would appreciate it if I had people’s support.”
Paul West has lived in Auburn for 25 years. In that time, he has worn multiple hats.
As small business owners, he and his wife ran Pak Mail for 25 years.
He was also an Army reservist for 35 years, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. He has worked for Auburn University ROTC for 18 years.
He’s also served on the Auburn Board of Zoning and Adjustments for seven years.
“I just felt like the next step for me to serve the city was to run for city council,” West said. “I’ve heard probably 150 to 200 citizen business and developer variance requests, so I’m really the most experienced candidate for city council.”
While on the Board of Zoning and Adjustments, West worked with citizens, businesses, builders and developers. He says he had to listen to both sides on any issue and be consistent and fair. As a small business owner and as an ROTC recruiter, West says he has developed “great relationships” with the Chamber of Commerce and Auburn University.
If elected, he said, he wants to protect the quality of life in Auburn. He believes in strong public safety, strong K-12 schools and being a strong advocate for businesses. He also wants to protect the city’s growth and infrastructure.
“There’s just so many positives about Auburn and the opportunities here,” West said. “And I hope to be able to be in a position to help shape and protect that growth.”