Four Brownsville women will make history come January, when they will make up the majority of the borough’s seven-person council.
Tracy Zivkovich, 58 and Beth Bock, 36 retained their seats earlier this month and will be joined by newcomers Jacqueline Jackson, 64, and Barbara Peffer, 45.
Zivkovich has been on council for the last decade, and has 20 years of experience working in government and administration in Greene County where she was part of a large female leadership team.
“I haven’t found that same experience on (the existing) Brownsville Council,” said Zivkovich, who is hopeful that a majority of women will band together to get things done. “We can focus on outcomes and be more organized — that’s what I’m excited about.”
Bock was appointed to fill a vacancy on council in July, and won her bid for a full four-year term on the board.
“I think it’s amazing, and it just shows that change is here in the way of how people view a predominately male council,” Bock said, adding that she feels amazed to be a part of history in an already history-rich town. “Now people are ready for change.”
Both women said they are excited to begin working with Jackson and Peffer, who are both ready to get to work in a few weeks.
“Women are making some changes and having a voice now,” Jackson said, loving that she and the others are part of making history. “It’s been years and years, but now it’s time for a change.”
Peffer sees coming onto council as another way to be an active member of the community, and said she wants to be a part of bettering the once booming borough.
“I wanted to have a part in bringing it back,” she said, adding that she would like to see some sort of medical facility in the town as well as a grocery store and something for the children to do.
Peffer said she’s excited to take part in municipal governance.
“I appreciate the faith the community has placed in us,” Peffer said. “Also, there’s not a gender bias against us, and I really appreciate that.”
All four women said they want to be a force for positive change in Brownsville.
Zivkovich said her priority is to maintain the borough’s police department. Its future was up in the air in the past as council members debated disbanding the force. She opposed the move then, and continues to do so.
“I want to continue to have discussions with police and mayor and feedback to see what they need and talk to new members of council in January to get their ideas and then use any resources available,” she said. “It may take a few years, but that’s my top goal.”
Bock said her main goals are to help bring in renewable resources by way of businesses, activities for the youth and families, build up the police force and fix the roads in the town.
“With the rich history here, I don’t see why we couldn’t appeal to tourists to share what we have,” Bock said.
Jackson wants to focus on revitalization, especially with the playgrounds as children need to go outdoors to play to become healthier and enjoy their community.
She said she also wants to see businesses come into the borough.
“We’re not going backwards,” Jackson said. “People are excited to see more women on council.”
“In order to make changes, it benefits us to have a different perspective,” Peffer said.