In the days following the primary, I have had the opportunity to self-reflect while continuing to work hard for your vote in the general election. I knew and expected the challenges of running for office when I made the decision to run last December. I recall the conversation with my team at the time that regardless of the outcome or situation, I would simply be me and that running as a woman of color in a district that has not yet been represented by a woman would be a win no matter what.
As a society, we have the tendency to give preferential treatment to people most like ourselves. That has carried through in whom we befriend and those we align ourselves with. I believe in the leadership I have to offer to the community. In my career, I have chosen leadership that is centered on building relationships. Recent events have shed light on the depth of the divide in our community. Leaders take on risks, even unpopular ones, because we see the opportunities regardless of the outcome. We learn from failures and encourage future opportunities. It is often remarked that “history repeats itself.” It’s true as long as we “let” it happen.
I ask of you to think of the kind of community we want to live in for ourselves and for our youth. Should we stay on the sidelines while “history repeats itself”? Or should we do what we can so that history does not repeat itself? The issues facing our growing city are complex and inter-related. As the city slowly transitions to a tech hub, gentrification is also taking place. It is why I feel strongly about community and building from within by working to preserve the historical identities of the neighborhoods and to introduce things in a controlled manner to inspire reinvestment.
Change is inevitable but the outcome can be positive and achievable through community development. The current structure is not conducive to social enterprise that allows for community input and collaboration. We have enabled developers to impose on communities and public hearings often seem customary or an afterthought. We can change this by embracing diversity and fostering partnerships with our elected representatives, city staff, community, and with developers who prioritize community building over self-interests. A similar statement can be made for our elected officials. Do we value status quo because it’s safe and the outcome is expected or do we have the gumption to truly embrace diversity? Diversity in our views, qualities, and experiences that are different from our own?
My campaign, to date, is focused on diversity and inclusion in all aspects with the emphasis in community building and integrity. I will continue to challenge the status quo and work to ensure that everyone has a seat at the table. I stand by my campaign’s mission statement: “I will work with you to achieve equity by modifying the access, reducing barriers, and increasing opportunities for engagement and participation.” As a collaborative leader, please vote for me to represent District 15 at the Madison Common Council on April 2. I will continue to work hard for your vote and hope to meet many of you while knocking on doors!