Courtesy of Dr. Kelli Thompson

Research professor Dr. Kelli Thompson announced her candidacy for Opelika City Council Ward 3 today.

Thompson is an assistant research professor and director of the Juvenile Delinquency Lab in the Department of Psychology at Auburn University. Her current research interests include the developmental pathways of delinquent youth behavior and the assessment, treatment-related outcomes and public policy issues facing justice-involved youth. Additionally, Thompson holds a master’s degree in divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary, a Bachelor of Science degree in human development and family studies from Auburn University, a master’s degree in psychology and a Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of New Orleans.

“My professional and academic pursuits, as well as many years of philanthropic work and civic engagement, have more than prepared me for this moment,” Thompson said. “It would be an honor to apply the skills, expertise and knowledge I have accumulated to better shape my community and do so with intention. Being elected to Opelika City Council would be one of many ways I feel I can use my education to give back.

“Opelika has experienced tremendous growth in the last few years, and I am certainly grateful for Mr. Smith T’s service as the current representative of Ward 3. My unique approach to listening and data collection will allow me to amplify the voices of this ward in a new and creative way. Many cities our size conduct an annual citizen survey, seeking feedback from residents regarding the satisfaction of services provided and budget priorities. I strongly believe Opelika would benefit from this type of process. If elected, it would be a primary focus.”

Thompson conducted a small survey to gain a better understanding of what the needs and concerns of the ward might be. Thompson said improving pedestrian access to the downtown area, increasing support for small local businesses and promoting transparency and accessibility of city council members are all issues rising to the top in the preliminary survey. She said she plans to continue meeting with Ward 3 face-to-face over the coming weeks to obtain more feedback.

Thompson explained her plans for the upcoming month also include surveying her ward, hosting small outdoor events, knocking on doors and more.

“So, if you see me knockin’ on your door in the coming weeks, be sure to answer,” Thompson said. “I want to hear what is most important to you.”

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