By Meg Hibbert
Anne Marie Green believes she can make a difference in the future of Salem. That’s why she is running for Salem City Council.
Green announced her intentions this week and is beginning to collect signatures to be on the November ballot. Her first run was two years ago, when three people ran for two seats. Incumbent Bill Jones, who has served 20 years, is planning to retire from Council when his term ends in December.
“I would really like the opportunity to serve on Council and to help Salem move forward,” Green said in a phone interview this week. “I went to the first comprehensive plan meeting at the Salem Civic Center. One of the things the consultant said was, ‘We’re going to do things the Salem way. I think Salem citizens are ready for something different instead of the old ways,” Green said. “More communication with the citizens about what is going on is what is needed, and the city is beginning to do that.”
She is passionate about a number of things that need to be done in Salem, including replacing the skate park after the existing one was razed when renovations started at Moyer Athletic Center.
“I think the city broke a promise there. When the skate park was torn down, there was talk of building a new one, but that seems to have disappeared, and instead there will be pickleball courts.”
She continued: “Skateboarding is a great leveler. All you need is a skateboard and a helmet. Not every kid is cut out for team sports. Skateboarding is an Olympic sport and pickleball is not.”
She mentioned that her son Adrian, now 28, was an enthusiastic skateboarder. He and his wife, Kelsey, live in Salem with their 1-month-old son Caden Mac. He is named after Green’s late husband Mac Green, who himself served on Salem City Council.
Their daughter, Emily, 32, works for Salem-Roanoke County Social Services in child protective services. Both young Greens graduated from Salem High School.
Anne Marie Green has been chief executive officer and president of the non-profit Council of Community Services since 2019. For 19 years before that, she was director of human resources for Roanoke County, director of general services and previously, the county’s public information officer.
She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, earned a law degree from the Catholic University of America and a graduate certificate in local government management.
“I understand local government, and I know how to listen to people,” Green said. “I know how to build consensus. I think decisions that represent a lot of different viewpoints are the best decisions.”
She is concerned about what might be built on the HopeTree Family Services campus, site of the former Virginia Baptist Children’s Home. “This is a huge issue for Salem. It is unrealistic to think a large piece of property will go undeveloped, but do we need so many houses and commercial buildings there? The city has got to look at the ripple effect developments like that are going to have.”
Green is the first to announce for Salem City Council. The deadline to file is June 18.