To my supporters in Cripple Creek and all in the area who were rooting for me:
First of all, thank you. Truly and from my whole heart, thank every one of you who believed in me, who placed signs in your yard, who helped back my campaign, who spread the good word, who helped me on a personal level through the journey, and all who were rooting for me. Thank you to the 137 of you who turned in your ballots and marked your support.
The final vote tally was 186 to 137, that’s a difference of 49 people, a 58% to 42% margin. The election was not a complete shut out and I think what that says loud and clear is that a lot of you in our city, and I know good and well a lot of the amazing folks who cannot vote in our municipal bounds but have worked and continue to work hard to improve Cripple Creek —YOU WANT CHANGE.
We didn’t make a giant step forward on Tuesday but we don’t have to take any steps backward either. Over the past two days, a lot of people, and I mean a lot of ya’ll, have been messaging, emailing and calling me. You’ve consoled me, you’ve lifted my spirits which I will admit were pretty crushed that first 24 hours, and I appreciate all of your kind words and sentiments more than I could express.
One of the most consistent remarks has been: Don’t give up. Keep fighting.
I want to say outright, that was very hard to hear. It has been harder to hear than taking in the final results of the election if I can be candid —and I am going to be really, quite candid from here on out. Expect it, get used to it, and I’m not sorry…
I have a message for every single one of you who want to see that hope that we can tell a different story about Cripple Creek —A story and future where we talk about how many great things there are for all of us to do whether we have young families or are enjoying well earned retirement years, where we can talk about how many job opportunities exist in our small community, where we can talk about how great our school system is here, where we celebrate a true sense of pride and excitement for our home…
YOU HAVE TO FIGHT FOR THAT, WORK FOR IT, HOLD COUNCIL ACCOUNTABLE FOR IT, CONTRIBUTE TOWARD IT, IMAGINE THAT FUTURE CLEARLY, AND YOU HAVE TO SHOW UP FOR IT.
I need you and you need you to show up and make this future happen. For yourselves, for those you love, for our children, for those who have yet to arrive here.
You MUST hold Milford Ashworth to his promises. I will work hard to hold those who sit at the same table accountable but I absolutely cannot do it alone. I need you. I need you to come to council meetings and speak out. I need you to write letters and sign those letters, own your vision for the future. I need you to get involved in committees and speak to your challenges, your needs, your wants, your hopes. I need you to speak loud and brave, to be bold and courageous. I need you to GET IN THE ARENA. You need you to get in the arena.
Mr. Ashworth promised to place “emphasis on finances and infrastructure.” What does that mean? What does that picture look like? Who gets to decide that direction and who is involved in that conversation?
He promised to “Ensure all Departments operate effectively and efficiently to serve the Citizens of Cripple Creek.” Again, what does that mean? Does that mean continuing to place fear of being fired and replaced on hard working, skilled, and long time dedicated professionals? Or are you open to understanding a new paradigm many successful companies are understanding which is that if we support, care for, and celebrate hard work and innovative ideas, that if we create an organizational culture where people’s ideas are safe and staff can be innovative in finding better ways to serve the citizens, the best outcomes are truly possible? What does this effective efficiency really mean and how does it work?
Mr. Ashworth said in his campaign he “supports efforts to diversify Cripple Creek’s economy.” What does that actually mean and what does that look like? Is that going to be on the backs of staff effort only? Do the City Council members need to get out there and talk to businesses, find ways to bring them in, create ideas to make them even want to invest in us in the first place? Do we put advertising dollars out there to send a new message that we are actually open for business and not going to laugh new business ideas out of the council chambers like members did in the past? What does this plan look like and how is that going to get done? When is it going to get done? Who is accountable for what and who will hold people accountable?
I need you to help me hold these promises to the fire. I can’t be the only person asking hard questions. That’s not fair to me, it won’t work, and it will get nothing done if you leave me up there to do it alone.
YOU HAVE TO SHOW UP AND SPEAK OUT. PERIOD.
YOU. ALL OF YOU who want that incredible future that is very, very possible. It is your turn to rise up and speak truth to power. It is your turn to help contribute toward solutions. The future rests on everyone’s shoulders, not just the shoulders of a few.
And when you show up, I will stand by your side. Figuratively and even literally if you want. If public speaking makes you nervous as hell, you ask me to step down from my seat at the dais and stand next to you. I will without hesitation. Hand me your letter and I will speak out the words on the record if you cannot but stand there with me and be brave. Send in a video if you want and I’ll make sure it’s played on our system at the Council Meeting. Get creative. But find a way to do it. Find a way to show up.
I challenge each and every one of you who care about your home, who believe in the potential here, who want to see a vibrant and incredible future that works for not just one type of people but all who live, work and play here to come and make it happen.
November 20th, the elected officials swear into their seats. Come down and witness that so you can remind them you were there and you remember their oath. We pledge an oath to abide by the laws and constitution. Not all elected officials adhere to those laws unless you, the voters, keep that in check.
If you see three or more council members talking about city business, say something or file a complaint.
You have the right to sign up for public comment and say whatever you want to. Don’t be vitriolic or bully, don’t stoop down to the level that certain individuals are okay with. But you speak to what you want to see, what you believe in, the solutions you believe are possible, and help keep the conversation front and center.
Demand your voice be heard.
Demand that you be informed on what is going on in your local government.
Demand your community move forward.
Stand for the future you believe in.
Finally, a quick message to those who supported Milford: You also need to show up to meetings, send letters, stay informed, and speak up for what you expect from the Mayor you voted for. Make sure those promises aren’t just words but that the community works together to solve our key and core challenges. I think most of us honestly agree with a lot of the core challenges: infrastructure improvements, housing shortage, needed diversity in our local economy. We might disagree on how that moves forward but with more sharp minds in the room come more opportunities for doing it right. No matter who you elect or who you trust, everyone needs to get off the sidelines and get in the solutions department wherever possible.
…and for the select few who are just mean, would you quit taking jabs at me? It makes you look like schoolyard bullies. Grow up. Talking about people acting with tact, about how that’s all important and then taking cheap shots at me is hypocritical – it is even worse than any of the critical points I brought up during my campaign (which are fair game when, uh, in a campaign). Your behavior is bullying, and it is sad. That childish nonsense is at the core of why we’re so behind on so many things. Quit pissing in the boots of people you disagree with or who point out some inconvenient facts, roll up your damn sleeves and help solve some hard problems around here. Or if you can’t do that, just shut up. This isn’t a high school popularity contest and most of ya graduated a hell of a lot longer ago than I did. It’s ensuring a better future and quality of life for real human beings who deserve better than all that crap.
For everyone else who truly cares, no matter how you voted, its time that everyone get in the arena and help move your town forward. Nothing truly great gets accomplished by the few. It is by the collaborative efforts of the many that amazing things are possible. Stand up, game face on, and get it done!