Though she finished a distant fifth in this year’s race to seat two new city commissioners, Jane Myron on Thursday — just hours before she received her ceremonial plaque and well wishes in the commission chambers — said she had no regrets about her service to the city.
A lot of political water passed under the bridge during her tenure. Some passed smoothly; some did not. She took both praise and heat at times. She was one of five who cast votes to go forward with major infrastructure investments, school construction and renovation and downtown flood control.
Now, she plans to have some “Jane time.”
“I’ll take a few months and travel some,” she said during a visit to the Johnson City Press. “I’ll spend some time with my mother, and probably give a little thought to Jane. I’ve never done that.”
She was elected to her first term in 2005 and became Johnson City’s mayor after Phil Roe resigned to take his seat in the U.S. House as Tennessee’s 1st District representative. Prior to becoming mayor, Myron was vice mayor from 2007-09.
“Before that time there was no cohesiveness (on the commission),” she said. “Some things I said during my first campaign was that I wanted to see some smiles. A smile is contagious. So are positive comments.”
She and her late husband, Jim, were running Jane’s Lunch Box and Black Tie Formal wear while she served as a commissioner.
“We made a good team,” she said while tearing up a bit. “He passed in November 2007. So, I found myself in the position of being a city leader and the owner of two businesses. But he had given me his blessing to run. He told me ‘the first time you come home and I ask you, “did you have a good time,” and you say no, then I’m going to ask you to resign.’ ’’
Myron said “every meeting was not fun,” but she also said she never considered resigning.
“No — that feeling never came. I had a little concern being a woman. And as this election came up I heard people saying, ‘are we going to have two women on the commission?’ ”
She said she’s always tried to make herself available, even when it means taking matters into her own hands.
“One time I got a call to come down to city hall,” she said. “An elderly man said he needed help in getting his wife to the doctor. He said, ‘I know you’ll help me.’ I felt I needed to help this man. His wife had Alzheimer’s disease. That about the same time I learned my mother Martha had Alzheimer’s. That’s another thing I had to deal with, but I continued to make myself accessible.”
On another occasion, she received a call from a 9-year-old girl.
“She was concerned about ducks crossing a street, and she wondered why no one had put up a sign, so I helped get a duck-crossing sign,” she said. “None of this has been about me. It’s been about the people of this community, particularly the health and well-being of our children.
“I guess the thing I’ll miss is the opportunity to serve the public. It might be one little tiny thing that will make people happy. It might just be listening — being sincere and really listening to people.”
Myron, originally from Nashville, has lived in Johnson City since 1970. She co-founded the city’s Turkey Trot, which drew 4,144 trotters in November. She no longer operates her two businesses. She is a member of the Johnson City Lions Club, the former Johnson City/Washington County Area Chamber of Commerce president as well as a former member of the Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization.
She passed on the suggestion she offer up a little advice for City Commission newcomers, Jenny Brock and David Tomita. She did, however, restate that she had no regrets about her time as a commissioner.
“Regrets? No. None,” she said. “Every vote I made was from the heart. It wasn’t personal. I sleep very well at night.”