My first night of public service

Updated: Last night, I was sworn in as a Ferguson Township supervisor. It was a day that really brought many things together for Ferguson citizens and me. Thank you for putting me there. I have five quick reflections:

  1. The votes I cast last night moved me from the world of action through rhetoric to action in deed. From now on, my decisions have weight that’s different from my years as an activist. You can now hold me responsible as the voting and taxpaying public.
  2. People yearn for someone to stand up for them. Last night there were a handful of votes for appointments to the University Area Joint Authority, the Planning Commission, and others that were tense. Ferguson citizens overwhelmingly voted for Laura Dininni, Colleen Unroe, and me because we fought for sustainable land development. So better vote that way and not turn into yes wo/men. Those votes tested whether we are the new representatives who would be the same as the old representatives. We are new.
  3. A distrust of power makes me slow down. When I’m not clear on what I’m voting on and it’s an issue of consequence, it’s better for me to refuse the vote, admit my ignorance, and get into the issue at another time. Last night, we did that.
  4. Colleen Unroe handled herself well last night. With the life of a graduate student deep in classes and two lawsuits against her—one by the township for not meeting the residency requirement and one from former board member Drew Clemson about the election—she decided not to be sworn in. In one speech, I hope she defanged what could have gotten ugly. [Update: The CDT has an article with some details on the matter.] Of course, we still have an empty seat to fill. News in a few weeks.
  5. I’m excited for my committee appointments. I’ve been appointed by the board to the Human Resources Committee, the Public Services and Environmental Committee, and as the primary member of the Spring Creek Watershed Commission with Laura Dininni as the alternate.

It’s time to invigorate the community with fresh thinking and action for sustainability. It is my goal to better integrate happiness and well-being with the health and resilience of nature in its many forms. Aldo Leopold wrote, “The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.” I will do that as dutifully as I can.

I love my home and I’m excited to serve it and you. Thank you for electing me.

 

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