I'm not going to comment on anyone's actions or any specific incident. But, I've heard from quite a few individuals who have been put into uncomfortable situations during the campaign. My overriding concern is that these situations create unnecessary divisions in the community and discourage people from getting involved in public service. Some refer to it as "small town politics," but I don't accept any of this as how it has to be.
I ran for local elected office because I believe in the power and importance of community. I know we can accomplish great things simply by listening to one another, supporting each other, and pulling together towards common causes. In their initial story on both candidates, the Covington News asked: "Why specifically are you running for a seat on the Covington City Council, as opposed to any other office?" My answer then was:
"Politics has gotten off track in our society. The notion of 'government of the people, by the people, for the people' seems lost in our time. I believe local municipal and county governments are our best hope for recapturing that ideal of an inclusive, participatory form of self-governing where everyone can and should be involved. When people feel cut off or disconnected from their government, that‘s not healthy. I want to bridge that gap by emphasizing local government as an extension of the community itself."
Those were not hollow words for a soundbite in the paper. That is the essence of what I believe, and it's why I want to send a short, simple message to several groups of people:
- If you've taken a visible stand supporting my candidacy, you have my deep gratitude and sincere thanks for your willingness to get involved. Your backing means the world to me, and I know it's not always without personal consequences for you. Ours is not a campaign against a person; we are running for a purpose, a vision, and a belief in what we can achieve as a community. In the long run, that will be understood by most.
- If you're backing me quietly, I understand and appreciate your support just as much. If you believe in the vision and priorities we share, don't let the personal politics distract you.
- If you're supporting Chris Smith -- visibly or quietly -- I want you to know I totally respect your stance and bear no ill will what so ever. The greatest threat to our society is not differences of opinion, it's apathy. I applaud you for getting involved. This is a community; in the long run, we will put differences behind us and work towards the much greater shared interests that bind us. If I am elected, I will listen to you and involve you just as much as anyone else.