“You know how sometimes something happens and it puts everything in perspective?” Councilwoman Barbara Banno asked over coffee Monday morning. “That’s what has happened to me.”
For over a year, Councilwoman Banno and her partner, Jeanne, have been trying to adopt children from the state. The road, she says, has been bumpy and it has caused her to re-evaluate her priorities.
She prefers not to give the specifics of the ups and downs of the adoption process, but did tell the Gabber that she realized very recently that the post of city council had slipped in the ranking of her priorities.
“I take this job very seriously and I think it’s important for anybody on council to give 100% of themselves, especially me,” she says. “When we are fortunate enough to start our family, my priorities will shift. I won’t have the time to devote to the city council and to the citizens that they both deserve.”
An emotional Banno said that nothing other than her desire to focus on starting a family factored into her decision.
“It is sad,” she says, her eyes misting over. “Serving on city council has been an honor and a pleasure. I am so proud to have served, in my opinion, some of the greatest people in the whole world.”
Councilwoman Banno says she intends not only to finish her term, which expires in March, but to remain involved in the city.
“The city hasn’t heard the last of me yet,” she laughed. “I will continue to attend meetings regularly, and I will continue to fight for economic development and the evolution of the Waterfront District.”
Had she chosen to run for re-election, Councilwoman Banno would have faced off against challenger Christine Brown, who has twice run for the Ward Two seat and has a long history of volunteering with the city on various boards and as part of of CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). Ms. Brown, whose daughter Elizabeth Brown-Worthington serves on the city’s Teen Council, teaches at Boca Ciega High School. The Gabber will run an in-depth article on the new councilwoman as Councilwoman Banno’s term draws to a close.
“As difficult of a decision as this was for me, not to run for re-election, it makes me feel good that I’m leaving Ward Two and the City of Gulfport in good hands with Christine,” Councilwoman Banno said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better person to fill my seat.”
Councilwoman Banno closed by reaffirming her love for the community.
“I would like to thank the citizens of our great town of Gulfport,” she says “for your love and support over the past 2 years.”