Being a disciple of Christ on the city council

Tisha Flora shakes the hands of a new member of city staff. Photo credit: Abigayl Finch

Before she was on the city council, Tisha Flora served the community by volunteering with the school district and the planning and zoning department. After serving in the community for a couple of years, members of the community approached her asking if she’d consider running for city council in 2015.

“I’m actually very introverted and shy and so my initial reaction was no way would I ever do that,” Flora said. “The more I thought about it, the more I realized I would really love to serve the community. Even though running for office was the scariest thing I’ve ever done, it has been a rewarding experience to serve the Rexburg community.”

Regarding her community service, Flora said she prefers the more behind-the-scenes work.

“I really enjoy being a voice for the citizens, including taking the issues they’re frustrated with or projects they’d like to see happen and finding solutions,” Flora said.

Flora said the most stressful part of the job for her will occasionally come during the decision-making process.

“Most decisions coming to the city council are not too hard,” Flora said. “You study it out. You receive pertinent information and then work to decide what you feel would be best for the community. The difficulty comes when a decision comes before you and both sides of the proposed issue make sense and have compelling arguments. You realize you could vote either way and struggle to know how to vote.”

Flora said decisions like these often arouse the most controversy and conflict.

“And as a city council person, you can’t abstain from voting and you can’t vote for both sides,” Flora said. “Choosing to vote one way, when you understand the concerns on both sides, makes these decisions very difficult. “

However, the principles of the gospel help Flora in the work she does and the decisions she makes.

“Jesus taught us the most important work is loving and serving people,” Flora said. “So how does my faith affect what I do? I work to remember that what I do in personal interactions is important. Every person matters and their voice matters. Helping people feel heard matters.”

Flora is unsure whether she’ll run for reelection in November. However, she encourages other members of the city to run even if they feel small or incapable like she did when she ran.

The only qualifications needed to run for the city council office in Rexburg are:

— Be at least 18 years old

— Be a U.S. citizen

— Live within the city of Rexburg boundaries

“Anybody who feels ordinary, who cares about our community and is willing to do the work is the perfect candidate,” Flora said. “I am encouraging anyone in our community who wants to be involved and is willing to work and see projects through to run for office. You don’t have to have a big resume to make a difference. You can be a regular ordinary person, just like me.”

To learn more about Flora and her fellow city council members, you can read their biographies on the city’s website.