The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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October 30, 2013

Jennifer Graf

Jennifer Graf

List your education, experience and background:

I was educated in Clinton schools and completed many workshops and certification in medical billing and office management. I was a former 12-year member of the Clinton Community School Board and am now fulfilling a four-year term as City Council at-large.

1. What has been your experience working with others to grow an institution, business or group?

As a member of the Clinton Community School Board we worked together to enhance the physical plant of Bluff Elementary and Whittier all the while working at a rigorous curriculum to meet the needs of all students. And all three actions were successful. These efforts were only attainable by the entire school board, administration, staff and public working together. As a chair of the YWCA, our board, staff and public also worked together to successfully provide stabilization of our local domestic violence/sexual assault centers due to the mandate of regionalization of funding. Defining a need and working towards a positive end result is only attainable through cooperation with all affected and interested individuals. I have done this in my past and private endeavors and continue to do so now on the City Council. None of us has the luxury of picking and choosing who we work with, so getting along towards a shared vision is critical. My biggest frustration has been the lack of a shared purpose on our council. On the school board we all had the focus of doing what was best for students. On the City I don’t hear or feel that common vision yet. But I also know there is strength in diversity which only makes the process stronger. We will get there.

2. Discuss how your experience has helped shape your communication abilities.

I am a natural “question asker” and have found that to be quite pleasing to the public I represent. Many times I will receive a call from someone who will state they were thinking of a question and I would ask it. I have experienced great joy and immeasurable heartache in my life; all of which has taught me to be a good listener for the public I serve. I have a strong faith which sustains me and helps me to empathize with others.

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