If you’ve come here because you saw one of my yard signs or a newspaper ad, it’s possible that you’re wondering what I mean by my somewhat cliche slogan: It’s time for sensible change. It’s a good question and it’s one I think I ought to clarify.
As I’ve mentioned before with regard to my vision for Cripple Creek, I’m more interested in what your vision is for this community from a collaborative/co-creative process. I want to engage that process through town hall meetings, facilitated workshops, and different engagement tools throughout the community. Whatever tools we need to use to grow engagement here, that’s what we need to do.
Visit my page ACTION PLAN to review the concise list of changes I will be bringing forward right out the gate.
What I mean by my slogan is that it’s time now to make the changes needed that we’ve been avoiding or slow to move on for too long. There has been a lot of inaction over this past decade or more and we just can’t afford to have that anymore. We need to figure out what we want and then we need to go make it happen.
I want to take this opportunity to also begin to speak about my opponent. First and foremost, I want to clarify that we’ve agreed not to run dirty attack campaigns. Milford is a good guy and we’ve been around one another for more than five years. I have no intention to attack him as a human being who has indeed done some great things for our community and the area, but I do believe I would be remiss if I did not point out some of the areas where I just don’t see him being the best fit for the role.
When I was in fourth grade, I ran to represent the class in a presentation. The class was to vote on the person they thought should give the presentation. I remember feeling weird about voting for myself and I asked my teacher about it. She said to me, “You vote for the most qualified person to do the job. If you think that person is you, you vote for you. If you don’t think that person is you, why did you volunteer for the position?”
I have held that philosophy close to my heart since. If I truly believed that Mr. Ashworth were the better suited candidate for the job of Mayor, I would exit the race. Period. There are a couple other individuals in this town who, had they ran, I would have supported them instead of running myself. Those two individuals had their own reasons for not running this time around and I wholly respect that. This isn’t about ego, it’s about doing the best job for a community that is at a crossroads. Cripple Creek has to move forward and it has to move forward now or we are going to be in a world of hurt in a blink of an eye. We have INCREDIBLE potential to become a place we all are deeply proud of, a place where we have better housing, better economic opportunities, where more of us feel connected to our contributions and work here.
While I respect and have a lot of genuine love for Milford, I just don’t think he’ll get us to where we need to go as the Mayor.
Mr. Ashworth had eight years in City Council to start to tackle the housing issue we’ve long had and that just didn’t happen. I won’t take credit for it happening now save for to say that some changes in staff were critical in that forward motion. There are a lot of challenges we’ve had here for a long time that simply were not addressed during Milford’s almost decade long tenure, some challenges were outright avoided, and most issues were only talked about without action. I hope voters consider that when they place their mark on the ballot this November.
As Henry Ford put it well, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
Hey, if you want Cripple Creek to stay the same, you know who you’re voting for already and I’m probably not going to convince you. But… before you rest on your laurels, and if you’ve been around earth longer than I have (35 years or more, so it doesn’t take too much to beat me there) you know good and well that change is inevitable. It’s how life goes no matter what you do to slow or halt the process. Change WILL happen.
The question isn’t if things will change, the question is, “How will things change?” Do we want to direct our own sails and have an opportunity to have input on what changes we engage or do we want change done to us without our permission?
Harvard academic Rosabeth Moss Kanter put it well when she said that “when we do change to people, they experience it as violence, but when people do change for themselves, they experience it as liberation.”
I don’t want change done to Cripple Creek from exterior forces where we can possibly avoid it. Economic challenges from outside our city will always exist and the world will always spin. State and federal legislation will happen, the world around us changes at a much faster pace, and a myriad of challenges will always present themselves to us without us asking for it. If you don’t know me too well, you may even view me as a frightening change agent who will push my will onto you. It’s okay, we all make quick judgements. That’s not who I am. That’s not what I want here.
At the core of how I plan to approach the Mayoral office is engaging the whole community wherever possible to direct the sails of change with agency, proactivity, and collaboration. How do you want the next five, ten, twenty years to go? What does this community look like at its best when you dream of it??
Let me ask you this: Do you think you’ll be around here for the next fifteen or twenty years? If not, I’d like to humbly plead you to think about the future residents who will be here. The families, the children, grandchildren, the future generations who will be here. What do you want for them? Do you want them to love this place as you do? Do you want them to have enough economic opportunities here that they can have a full life in Cripple Creek? Do you want the opportunities that children in other communities have that we frankly don’t right at this moment?
I’m connected to that future. I have a young child and I want him to want to be able to stay here if he chooses. I want opportunities for him. I want his children to either live here or visit here with pride and fondness for how great this place will be when they come into existence.
Right now, my kindergartner is doing okay but if we don’t see changes around here, I have to think about his future. Instead of giving up and moving out, I’m committed to working toward it being possible for him to grow up here and have the same opportunities children have elsewhere to succeed. I want that for your children and your neighbor’s children. I want opportunities for you and for me, too. Things just cannot stay the way they are if those of us who have our best years ahead of us hope to have a good life.
It’s a great place for those who are in their final chapters, closing out a well lived story. For the rest of us, however? We don’t have a lot of healthy and exciting things to do, we don’t have a lot of things for our families to do together, and the community is fractured among age lines. The healthiest and happiest communities embrace diversity of backgrounds and for us, I truly believe that means making sure people of all walks of life, all ages, all experiences have more to connect with and more to enrich their lives with here. Those of us with younger energy need to work with those who have more experience to make sure we’re all connected and fulfilled here.
I have the energy, the connection to the future, and the will to bring us forward and look, I am not going to do it by myself at all. Not even close. I want to do this WITH the community, not TO you. I’m not hung up on special interests, I’m not tied to tiny things happening, I’m interested in the big picture and I want that picture to be clear because we all painted it together.
My opponent is a good person. He’s also 80 years old, he’s hyper focused on a couple personal projects/interests, and he often gets lost in the smaller challenges. When I was in the development department here at the city, I had to personally derail a lot of my bigger focuses to address a code enforcement issue Milford was hung up on. While it was a legitimate complaint, it was made much bigger and took up more time because of his council position. We had a lot of staff time taken by his particular projects and while I certainly applaud and really appreciate his passion, everyone deserves the same time and focus. None of us can get stuck in the weeds and forget all the moving parts to the big picture. It isn’t how we get the really important things accomplished.
I love the Rodeo! But I also love Donkey Derby Days, and I saw some amazing things happen at the Veteran’s Rally, and I love how passionate our historical organizations are about keeping our history alive, and I see the potential for more exciting events and organizations here. I’m more excited about the Steering Committee asking you what events mean to you, what the future of them should look like, and how we move forward in a more sensible manner with all we do in mind. I see the big picture and that focus will always be front and center.
This next year, I’m hoping to get a youth engagement project off the ground (it’s already in process this very moment). I’d like to invite a high school student to sit on City Council with us as the Student Liaison so we can be more in tuned with the voice of the future. With greater diversity and representation of different generations at the table, we can draw more impactful and positive conclusions, create better solutions. As your Mayor, I want to invite the spirit of inclusion and participation and I’ll work hard to excite that sentiment. Whatever it takes to get more people to the table and excited to be there, I have the energy, creativity, and tenacity to make it happen.
So when I talk about that scary word, change, I’m talking about not doing what we’ve always done to get what we’ve always got. I’m just talking about making things better in ways that make sense for Cripple Creek with your input at the core of creating that direction forward.
I’d like to leave you with a well known poem to consider.
“For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”
The job of each generation is to lay the foundation for the future to dream beyond our imagination and give them solid ground from which to create that future. I’m asking for an opportunity to do that for the future generations that will come after me. One day, I too will have to pass the torch onward hoping I have done my best to teach and inspire those younger than me to do their best for those yet to come. It is the natural cycle of all things.
If you have wisdom greater than I do, help me build that path for others. If you are younger than I am, help me connect with your future.
We have to work together to think about tomorrow. We can no longer afford to live in the nostalgia for yesterday only. We celebrate what has come before, learn from it and we open up doors for what is to come. It’s how we do our best.