I recognize that running for public office is not a task that too many people are comfortable pursuing, however it does have its moments of joy. The best part of the campaign, so far, has been the insightful conversations that I have had with a variety of folks in town. I heard about the difficulties and challenges that a Vietnam Vet has endured to secure housing and mental health care and mostly respect. I was moved by the concerns from a retired teacher struggling to find an affordable apartment and wondering whether she is going to be able to age in the place she loves. I had a productive talk with a contractor who is having difficulty finding enough skilled workers to complete his projects and wondering what the future holds for an industry without skilled workers. I enjoyed talking with the brilliant young woman and her dad who had poignant questions about our collective history, public safety and education. I learned so much from the young man with cognitive disabilities who worries that his exuberance might be misconstrued, resulting in social exclusion. I also have my own reflections about the dedicated and compassionate nursing staff and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to ensure that we all have access to vaccines, and the firefighters who work tirelessly to keep us safe and have made every possible effort to ensure that we understand the full extent of the fire danger that we face under current climate conditions.
The most rewarding conversations for me have been listening to some of our city elders, who have maintained a constant vision for making Walla Walla such an exceptional place to live. Supporting our city in being a sustainable and livable community takes all of us working together. Developing the blueprint to protect the small-town character of Walla Walla, promoting more walkable streets and bike routes, ensuring that we plant trees, protecting opens spaces, managing our water consumption, and providing housing and services for the people who live and work here, has been a vision illuminating the work to be done, work we can pursue together.
When we listen to each other and understand the humanity in each of us, that is when we truly build a community, united in pursuing common goals and committed to make this a city a place where we all belong and we are all proud and grateful to call home.