Sue Sgambelluri, 53, is one of four candidates running for Bloomington City Council’s District 2 seat in the 2019 primaries, the only seat with both Democratic and Republican candidates.
Sgambelluri said she sees economic development as one of her main goals if elected, as well strengthening neighborhoods, supporting social services and working to form better relationships between city and county officials.
As a fundraiser for IU’s College of Arts and Sciences, Sgambelluri has been heavily involved in the Bloomington community for decades. She served on the family selection committee for Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County for six years, has been a leader in her church in various capacities since 1997 and has served on the executive boards of Bloomington Rotary and TEDxBloomington.
She is also involved in several economic development initiatives including the city’s Redevelopment Commission, which has focused on many of the city’s future projects. Sgambelluri said the city’s new Trades District, which will house tech companies, will be an important job creator.
“She understands the importance of employment, and she understands the value of a diverse Bloomington economy,” said Geoff McKim, a long-time friend of Sgambelluri’s.
Sgambelluri said her job as an IU fundraiser and her involvement with nonprofits has helped her understand the public and private sectors.
“I think it’s given me a unique perspective on the power of philanthropy,” she said.
Also from her job as a fundraiser, Sgambelluri said she has learned the importance of relationships and representation. She wishes to use this ability to represent her constituents as well as work together with both city and county officials.
Sgambelluri said while city and county employees work together often out of necessity, she thinks city and county elected officials sometimes choose not to work well together. This affects the progress of projects such as the Monroe Convention Center expansion, which has been slowed down by disagreements between the city and county governments.
McKim, who is also a Monroe County Council member, said there is a need to bridge county and city governments, and Sgambelluri’s ability to maintain relationships will help the process.
“Prioritizing consistent communication is key,” Sgambelluri said. “I don’t think you build trust overnight.”
Sgambelluri said another of her priorities as a city council member would be to support the existing network of social services in Bloomington.
“We’ve got a formidable social services network,” she said. “They work very hard together.”
Sgambelluri said her involvement in community services gave her perspective on vulnerable people’s needs.
“I think it showed me how hard these people work,” Sgambelluri said. “These people struggle to survive.”
Affordable housing is also one of Sgambelluri main goals. She said to bring down the price of housing, the city must incentivize more developers to build affordable options.
District 2, which covers the northwest part of Bloomington, includes a large amount of student housing around the stadium. Sgambelluri said she believes students need affordable housing as much as the working class.
Amy Cornell, an IU employee and friend of Sgambelluri’s since graduate school, said in addition to her experience with fundraising, Sgambelluri is thoughtful, smart and a careful planner.
“She’s not jumping in blindly,” Cornell said.
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