CLIFTON — A community is its people, and there are few as important to its function as its members of local government.
In the lead up to the 2020 election year, the Copper Era will be featuring elected officials from throughout Greenlee County, asking about their communities and their approach to local issues. The first is Laura Dorrell: a registered nurse, board member of the United Way of Graham and Greenlee Counties and SEACUS, Flinn-Brown Fellow, and most recently a member of the Arizona State Medical Board. Dorrell serves locally as a member of the Clifton Town Council.
COPPER ERA: What issue or issues do you see as most pressing in the community?
DORRELL: In my opinion, the most pressing issue in Clifton is infrastructure. On the front burner is our wastewater treatment plant. There has been so much planning and great work put into finding a solution for this issue that many people have been a part of including previous and current town managers, Espie Castaneda, Chad from Bowman and Town of Clifton Public Works. This issue has been a collaborative effort that is multifaceted and is a work in progress.
COPPER ERA: What are your feelings on cooperation between local communities?
DORRELL: I believe it is imperative that we work together with our local communities. When we work together, it only makes us stronger, and our resources go farther. I have found that in my past involvement with other community organizations that it is not about our organization, but it is about the community as a whole; that is when we get things done and improve our communities.
COPPER ERA: What major challenges do you see facing the community, and how would you address it?
DORRELL: Housing is a significant challenge in Clifton; we do not have the available housing to meet the demand. The lack of housing is something that takes a team approach, the council and the community as a whole. The beginning of addressing this issue of housing starts with the general plan, which is currently and actively being written and rewritten as suggestions and ideas come through.
COPPER ERA: What positive changes are you hoping to achieve in our community, and how do you plan to make said changes?
DORRELL: I would like to see more pride in our town appearance; a visitor’s positive first impression of our town is crucial, especially if we want them to come back and visit. We are blessed to have such a beautiful backdrop with our high canyon walls, river and animals, including our bighorn sheep and birds. Angel Maldonado, with code enforcement, does an excellent job working on keeping things like abandoned cars and weeds out of residential areas and keeping Clifton codes enforced. I have been a part of the San Francisco River Cleanup for many years, but this is only one part. Community pride will take all of us to do our part to make Clifton look as beautiful as our scenery.
COPPER ERA: What is the reason you decided to participate in local government?
DORRELL: I have engaged with the community through many different local, nonprofit and public entities, and I feel I know the community. Being able to participate in local government gives me a voice, not only what I think should happen in the town but what the people of Clifton want to see in the community. One of the most important things to remember when serving in local government is that you are a voice for your community, not a cry for yourself and your agenda.