Vickie Riddle seeks re-election to Tecumseh City Council in November
Vicki Riddle likes to be in the thick of things, and her role as a member of Tecumseh City Council gives her the chance to be involved in important decisions regarding the city she loves, her home. A councilmember for eight years, she is running for her fifth two-year term in the November 2 election.
When she ran for her first term on city council she was the executive director of the Tecumseh Area Chamber of Commerce. “I like to be a part of anything I’m participating in. I thought that would give me a little more opportunity or insight to how the city operates,” she said of her initial desire to run eight years ago.
Riddle has lived in Tecumseh for 27 years and resided in Raisin Township for three years before that. Her business background includes a position as director of event operations for a company called Americrown at Michigan International Speedway. As the person in charge of souvenir sales at seven different racetracks across the United States including M.I.S., she traveled to California, Arizona, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Illinois and Missouri and connected with service groups to organize their work at merchandise booths during races in exchange for a portion of the funds raised. “That was a really, fun, cool job that I had,” she said. “It was a lot of work, but it was a lot of fun, too.”
Her personal passions include dog rescue, and in 2020 she stepped down from her chamber role after 11 years and opened her store, SpecialTee Prints and Pets. The store is a continuation of the specialty embroidery business that she started 20 years ago when she left Americrown. As a buyer of the embroidered products sold at the racetracks, she was intrigued by the intricate designs possible in that type of business. “When I left the speedway I bought an embroidery machine, and six months later I bought another one, and it’s just been going ever since,” she said. “I love doing it.” The store has been open for a year and a half.
She was a member of the Tecumseh Lions Club for 10 years, and her work with the Tecumseh Area Chamber of Commerce for over a decade focused on supporting the business community with seminars, workshops and networking events, as well as being involved in putting on events in the city.
One priority that she believes needs addressing in the city is the overpopulation of deer that damage property and cause hazardous situations. “I’m in a situation that a lot of our residents are in. Two weeks after the last deer cull I had a herd of deer in my back yard. They destroy everything,” she said.
Riddle has an acute appreciation for the city’s department heads and employees, especially since the budget cuts that were necessary due to the pandemic. “I think we really need to be able to retain our city employees,” she said. “I have a whole new respect for the department heads of the city. When we are initially doing the budget the department heads all come in and talk about their department what their budget needs are for the following year. It just really struck me how dedicated and how knowledgeable every single one of those department heads are. We ultimately make the big decision on whether we’re going to buy large equipment or do big projects, but they bring to us a wealth of knowledge. They do the research and look at the different angles that we can go by, and it’s up to us to provide what is needed to our employees to get the job done.”
She said that above all, the city needs to keep the current team of employees. “It’s just a great group of people. They work well together. When something’s going on in one department that’s going to affect another department, they work together. I’ve really been impressed by that this year,” she said.
Councilmembers don’t always agree on an issue, and Riddle said when that happens, they talk about it one-on-one to hear each other out. “You have to respect their opinion, because whether it’s different from yours or not, it’s their opinion,” she said. “You just explain both sides and then you vote on the issue however you feel. Sometimes you can’t reach an agreement, but not everybody has to agree on every single thing every time.”
Riddle wants to be reelected so she can continue to do the work that council has been doing, especially now during the troubled times of the pandemic. She said with so much going on in the country on the national and state level, she wants to make sure that on the local level the city and city council continue to provide the services to residents that they have been.
She knows that national issues affect everyone, “But the things that we do to make sure that they have good roads and a strong fire and police department, that we have clean water to drink and our roads get plowed in the wintertime – that’s the local level that we get to decide for our residents,” she said. “Those things affect our residents in their daily lives.”