When we began our campaign four years ago, we launched it with powerful positive energy. But it was also built upon a foundation of family. Today, while we’ve all changed, grown and evolved – those core principles have not. At our kickoff fundraiser last week this was abundantly clear. What do you have without family? And what would you have without all of those constituents and others who contribute so much to this community. Whether it’s Nakeida Bethel-Smith who works tirelessly for her church and in her job supporting those who need the services of the Elizabeth Freeman Center, Vannessa Guess-Slaughter who made a huge impact this summer with the Marilyn Hamilton Summer Literacy Program, which helps kids in the West Side Neighborhood be better prepared for classes in the fall (avoiding the so-called “summer slide”), Brad Gordon, who aside from his recent service on the city’s Charter Review Commission, has built an essential non-profit (Berkshire Regional Housing Authority) with a mission of improving communication and addressing landlord/tenant challenges throughout the region, or Steven Valenti, whose commitment to his remarkable business in the downtown (through even the toughest of times) stands as a powerful testament to persistence and uncompromising quality of service, and Bill Sturgeon, who has been a tireless advocate for our veterans and has shown an incredible commitment to advancing the dialogue in our community on his radio program.
I was honored by the presence of these and so many others. Former Ward 4 Councilor Mike Ward providing an introduction to my speech was also a humbling experience. My friend and colleague earned the respect from each and every fellow councilor and those who he worked with. He has an incredible ability of framing issues in a common sense way that would encourage consensus – not only among councilors, but among residents and others, for whom he helped forge compromise and real solutions. I learned a great deal from his approach, and I strive to build consensus on the issues we face – it’s the only way to truly build a solid foundation for progress.
Thursday night I made a pledge to my supporters that no candidate will work harder to deliver a positive, progressive message this fall. This is not just about an election but the future of our community. Ward 6 and the city of Pittsfield deserve professional, progressive and consensus-building leaders on the city council. For four years, I have provided that leadership and now, it’s more important that ever.