Before our mayoral election season heats up, I want to make you a promise:
I will not go negative on other candidates.
I will stay focused on sharing my vision and ideas for our city. I will talk about what I believe in and what I stand for. I’ll tell you about my experience and how it shapes my leadership style and approach to governance.
I want to see a democracy in which candidates tell voters about themselves, and then voters decide which candidate they prefer. I’m tired of seeing elections devolve into feuds. I want better for Cleveland Heights.
Perhaps this exposes the idealist part of me, but I embrace my ideals. After all, if we have nothing that we’re reaching for, that’s when we sink, stagnate, and lose our way.
I am also making this pledge because part of my vision for our city is engaging our community and bringing our residents into our decision-making processes earlier and more often. Cleveland Heights has many challenges to address, and whoever ultimately becomes mayor will need all of us to come together to work toward our collective goals. If the first thing our soon-to-be-mayor needs to do is bridge community divides created by negative campaigning, this will obstruct the essential work to be done.
I may disagree with other candidates. After all, no two people agree on absolutely everything. But when I do, I won’t question anyone’s character. I’ll simply say, “I disagree,” and then I’ll tell you why. Disagreements are inevitable. What’s important is HOW we disagree. We can do so with civility and respect—and even kindness.
Some have told me that if I’m not willing to go after other candidates, then I’m not “in it to win it.” Perhaps that’s true. If sowing division in our community is the cost of winning this election, that’s a price I’m not willing to pay. On the national level we’ve seen what happens when candidates stoke discord as a path to victory. We can and must do better.
When I announced my candidacy for mayor in the Heights Observer, I said, “This is our chance to explore what we want to build together. I hope this will be a time of dialogue, not division.” I stand by those words.