Farmington Voices: Johnna Balk, Farmington city council

The Farmington Voices: 2021 Elections podcast offers candidates for city offices in Farmington and Farmington Hills an opportunity to provide information about themselves and their candidacy. Candidates, if your interview invitation got lost, please write to joni@farmingtonvoice.com


Transcript

Speaker 1
Johnna Balk is a candidate for Farmington City Council, and we’re talking with her today regarding her candidacy and so that voters can get to know a little bit about her. So Johnna, thank you for taking the time and please start by telling us about yourself. How long have you lived in Farmington, you do for a living that sort of thing?

Johnna Balk
Johnna Balk (contributed)

Speaker 2
Okay, so this is our 25th year in Farmington my husband and I live here. We both grew up in sort of in the area and we chose Farmington. I grew up in Livonia, and he grew up in Novi, but I currently work for OCC. I’m a faculty librarian at the Auburn Hills campus, but prior to that, I worked for many years at the downtown branch of the Farmington Community Library. So a lot of people will recognize me from the adult reference desk there. We have three children, 27, 25 and 21, they all went through Farmington schools. They played baseball and softball with South Farmington. My daughter danced in Farmington. And we were members at the Glen for about 20 years as well. So, and they all swam, played tennis, did all those things. And actually, my daughter is currently a senior at Wayne State is on the swim team there.

Speaker 1
Oh, that’s exciting.

Speaker 2
A little bit, yeah, very. And this week as an aside, it’s the Olympics, so there’s not a lot of sleep happening in our house. We’re watching lots of Olympic swimming.

Speaker 1
I understand, I understand. So why did you decide to run for a Council seat?

Speaker 2
So initially I had heard that there was going to be the possibility of a vacancy on Council, and so that’s what I heard about, and then my husband and I were talking about it, and we’ve always served in various capacities, depending on what our kids were doing or what our church was doing, so  we’ve volunteered with mission trips and coaching and different things in different ways, and I saw this as a way to serve in my community, now that my youngest is living on campus, and we don’t have anybody here with us, and so it seemed like a really good fit for all of my years here in Farmington and a way that I could give back to this community that we chose and and we keep choosing, and that’s kind of how it came about.

Support Farmington VoiceSpeaker 1
Okay, what do you see as Farmington’s biggest challenge, and what kind of solutions would you propose for that if you’re elected?

Speaker 2
I guess I don’t know that I see it as a challenge, but I would like to just see to ensure continued momentum. I feel like we’ve really had some positive changes in our city in the last twenty-five years, with the downtown district, and The Syndicate, and all those things. You know, we went through some rough patches over the last, I mean, if you look back over the 25 years, but I would like to just see that continued momentum with all of the positive things that we have going on. Continuing infrastructure, I think, obviously we saw that there was a pretty big hit, our house included, with trees, and one of the things that I think we need to look at is, it’s a blessing and a curse to live in a city that has beautiful, big old trees. And you know, I don’t want to lose them, but I’d like to see that we, I’ve heard discussion of really kind of taking note of all the trees and working with professionals to know which trees need to do what and to plant more trees where we’ve lost so many, sadly, and quite quite graphically in the last couple of weeks. There has been some pretty bad uprooting.

Speaker 1
Yeah, I went out and took some pictures after the July 7th storm. And it was, I’ve never seen anything like it.

Speaker 2
Yeah, my mother grew up in Ohio and the only other time I’ve seen that is after a tornado went through the town that she grew up in. That’s what it reminded me of, actually.

Speaker 1
Well, how would you see Farmington as or how would Farmington be better by the end of your term? What do you expect to contribute? What do you hope to accomplish?

Speaker 2
Thinking how to start this. I’m running because I love my city, not running because I’m upset with anything. I’m, so, I guess I would say that my the motivation I have is pure and that I want availability and communication, and I feel like I would bring that, that I would be available to my community and just continue that momentum and, you know, I know what people love about Farmington and what brings new people and what brought us to Farmington, and I’d like to just continue that. Fighting for our neighborhoods, we have a great diversity and a vibrant downtown that people love to hang out in. And so I’d like to just continue that and be a positive force that is available and would seek out what people want for our city and and keep that going forward.

Speaker 1
Okay, is there anything else that you want people to know about you that we haven’t talked about yet?

Speaker 2
Gosh. Yes. I recently hired a new adjunct librarian, and I loved this, it’s an older woman who wants to continue working as a librarian. And she said to me, if you give me this opportunity, I will give you my very best. And I loved that, because if I don’t know an answer and I might not be the most experienced, but I also, I was talking with one of our state reps and he said to me; you were preparing for this your whole life, you just didn’t know it. And I feel like I will bring to the table that if I don’t know an answer, I’m a librarian. I research for a living, I will do my best to find out the information that we need and make the choices that are logical and will work for our city.

Speaker 1
Okay, and people can find out more about you on, I’m assuming social media, and your website

Speaker 2
Yep. I have, I have a website, it’s johnnaforfarmington.com, and then I have a Facebook page also.

Speaker 1
Well, thank you for taking a few minutes to, to let voters know a little bit more about you. I really appreciate it.

Speaker 2
Thank you. I appreciate meeting you and and taking the time. And I’m an open book if people have questions. I’d love to chat.

Reported by